The Migrant English Project (MEP) is a fantastic charity that helps refugees and asylum seekers in Brighton. Every Monday at the Cowley Club on London road, they offer migrants free English lessons. Volunteers also serve a vegan lunch each week using food provided by FareShare Sussex. The MEP are an independent charity and rely on the commitment and dedication of volunteers to deliver their service.
A Safe Space
“It’s about feeling welcome, feeling valued, making friends.”
While providing English lessons is the main function of the project, the MEP is much more than this. Volunteers are on hand to help migrants with personal issues, as well as talking to them and helping with English teaching. One of the most important things about the MEP is that it provides a safe space for migrants to go, where there is always a listening ear, a hot drink and a friendly face waiting for them. As Jenny, a volunteer, said, “It’s about feeling welcome, feeling valued, making friends.”
“Most of the people who come here are on very low incomes so it’s nice to be able to have food with them, and it also cuts down our costs” – Ros, volunteer.
FareShare Sussex delivers food to the MEP each week, which is cooked into a delicious vegan lunch by volunteers. The food from FareShare enables the MEP to spend less money on food and more on other services. It also means that the lunches are healthy, as they receive a range of fresh fruit and vegetables. Diane, a volunteer, said, “the surprise factor is great!” Not only is the food nutritious, it also helps those at the project who are on a low income – food that is not used in the lunch is offered to students to take home with them.
“The surprise factor is great!”
Read about our intern Kate’s visit to the Migrant English Project here.