Language help available for Ukrainians settling in Maidenhead and Windsor

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

adrianw@baylismedia.co.uk

A Maidenhead, Windsor and Bracknell group has been set up to help Ukrainians and others with English lessons and translations.

World and Languages is made up of eight women offering language support to help those who have been displaced by the war.

With their professional background, they knew it is ‘always difficult’ to find interpreters and there would be a great need for them.

One of them, Yulia Wayne, is from Russia and has been living in the UK for 22 years.

“The first day of the war, we all felt something we’d never felt before,” she said. “We knew what was happening [in the region] but we never thought it was going to end up like this. Everyone was in total shock.

“On the third or fourth day, I realised I had to do something.”

The World and Languages team is a small group of volunteers which has also been providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

The group would like to begin organising English language lessons –
although at the moment, because of the slow process of visa applications, there has not been enough demand so far.

It is operating online and teachers will also be able to run some in-person lessons in the Maidenhead, Windsor and Bracknell areas.

The group is hoping to be able to find venues to operate out of and hopes also to be able to host coffee mornings for social support.

At the moment it has been a challenge for the group members to juggle jobs, volunteering and completing the paperwork that would allow it to apply for the community funding it needs.

In the meantime, World and Languages is continuing to help with individual signposting.

This includes navigating paperwork in English and guidance on integrating into the UK.

There is a fair amount of culture shock for people moving abroad, even under normal circumstances, said Yulia.

She added that another aim is also to foster connections between people who have been displaced from different countries who may be on opposing sides.

Some – such as Russian-born expatriates – are not welcome in either Russia or Ukraine and surrounding countries like Georgia.

“I try to keep that fragile balance between Ukrainian families and Russian families,” said Yulia. “It’s a very sensitive situation – if we start hating each other here, it will be worse over there.

“I try to explain that not all Russians are like that – we don’t all support the regime.”

To get help from World and Languages, email hello.ealtraining@ gmail.com

The group can also be found on Facebook by visiting facebook.com/worldandlanguages

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