Celebrating Islington’s social enterprises

  • 26
  • Feb

Social Saturday is an annual campaign to raise awareness of the difference that social enterprises are making in communities across the country. To celebrate this year’s day on October 14, 2017, we spoke to two local social enterprises about the work they do to support Islington’s communities.

Speak Street is a pop up language cafe that offers free English classes to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, as well as foreign language classes and events.

Joanna, who set it up three years ago, says: “Living in Islington where 145 different languages are spoken, I wanted to do a positive response to the negativity to immigrants. This was a positive step that I can help people improve their language skills, but also meet their neighbours and not feel so isolated. Even people who can speak English well can still feel isolated.

The sessions are fun, flexible and community-based, so you don’t have to sign up to continuous courses just go along when it fits your schedule.

Joanna says: “I feel privileged because I get to meet people from all over the world and I think there’s great benefits from that. There are times when it’s challenging, but each day is different and I’m doing something that I love.

For its volunteers and students, they get to improve their language skills but it’s more than that. “It’s meeting people from the local community,” says Joanna. “It’s been described to me as a big family. Everyone gets a warm welcome and can practice speaking another language in a comfortable and friendly environment.”

Gendered Intelligence (GI) was established in 2008 with a mission to increase understandings of gender diversity. They work with the trans community and those who impact on trans lives; and particularly specialise in supporting young trans people aged 8-25 years.

Jamie, who has worked there for three years, explains: “We do this by trying to raise awareness, holding youth sessions at our premises and at a youth club in Islington, providing training and consultancy services across all sectors, including education, and running workshops and a mentoring scheme for young people in schools, colleges and universities. We also offer an annual summer residential for young trans people.”

“Our youth groups are open to all young trans people, including non-binary young people and those who may be questioning their gender identity and they are a place where they can feel comfortable, meet other young trans people and find support,” Jamie says.

Find out more about Speak Street on its website or Facebook page.

To learn more about the services offered by Gendered Intelligence email admin@genderedintelligence.co.uk or call 0207 832 5848.

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