Northern Angel Fund benefits Berwick groups

Teacher Frances Thorp with students at one of the classes put on by the Berwick Migrant Support Group.

Teacher Frances Thorp with students at one of the classes put on by the Berwick Migrant Support Group.

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A Berwick support group which helps migrants build language skills and develop friendships has benefitted from a vital community grant.

Set up specifically to help groups and projects in Berwick, The Northern Angel Fund supports projects that develop the skills of local people as well as increasing community development.

Held by the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland,the fund has helped a variety of organisations in the last year and given considerable grants to several projects in Berwick.

The volunteer-run Berwick Migrant Support Group is just one organisation that has benefited from the fund. It was awarded a grant of £1,200 which has met the cost of the group’s venue and helped to fund workshops.

By funding the venue the Northern Angel Fund has enabled the group to run for another year, meaning that more people can be helped by the project.

Group treasurer Gerry Jones said the support of the Northern Angel Fund had been “invaluable”.

“By covering our venue costs it means we can operate for another year, helping to run even more language classes,” Mr Jones explained.

“We are also hoping to hold fundraising events and even produce a migrant workers cookbook, which wouldn’t be possible if we did not have the venue secured.”

Polish is the second most spoken language in Northumberland and classes give Polish speakers the confidence to integrate within Berwick. The group is open to all age groups and allows participants not only to build language skills, but also develop friendships.

Karen Daglish, fund development manager at the Community Foundation, added: “Research through our own Vital Signs reports highlight many issues where being from a minority community in Northumberland can present challenges.

“The Berwick Migrant Support Group not only helps to develop the language skills of participants but also helps them feel more involved within their community which in turn helps the community as a whole.”

The Northern Angel Fund is currently looking for applications. The fund helps to develop the community in Berwick by providing grants to groups which help to develop skills and the long term viability of groups.

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