• benefits • retirement • education • writing off debts
• English • Computer Skills • Childcare training • Attaining professional developments skills
• housing problems • health • career advice
The PBIC was established in 2007 in response to the needs of the newly arrived Polish Migrant workforce and their families. All our activities are driven by one overriding purpose – to help those who need support in successfully integrating into British society.
The PBIC offers advice and assistance in accessing services provided by the local authorities and other institutions such as healthcare, education, housing. English language courses play a huge part in the help that we give. By teaching English as a foreign language we aim to empower the beneficiaries.
For children we offer Polish language classes and Polish history classes run by experienced teachers. We also have a traditional song and dance group who attends various functions promoting our services.
Mags Brady PBICs centre manager says: “The PBIC was set up by ‘like minded individuals’ who had already offered support to Polish Migrant workers and their families upon their arrival into the town over the last few years. By helping the families to settle into life within a new community each of us independently played a role similar to that of a community mentor offering interpretation, help with general information and providing English tuition. As a result of the influx of Poles in 2004, when the boarders opened, we soon realised that we could not cope with the huge demand individually. So the PBIC came into being in reply to this demand. With support from the Learning Partnerships capacity building project and help from the Bedford Race Equality Council (BREC), the organisation was formally established on 26th March 2007”.
“Most of PBICs volunteers were teachers when the organisation was first established, with four being qualified to teach English as a foreign language. From their collective experience the PBIC developed the idea of an ESOL course that would contain elements of information, advice and guidance and cultural awareness about living and working in the UK. The ten week course is now known as theESOL for Integration Course” – Mags Brady adds.
The ESOL course was designed to be taught by a bilingual tutor who would encourage integration into the community, by not only teaching English but also by teaching about British culture, traditions, customs, etc., By doing so this would allow the learners to compare and contrast their own Polish experience with life here in the UK.
Mags Brady continues: “Multi agency input to the course established a link between the Migrant Community and many statutory organisations, which learners considered a great help”.