A pioneering language project where people volunteer their time to teach conversational English to new migrants in their community is establishing a centre in Tramore and is appealing for local volunteers to tutor on the programme.
The Fáilte Isteach initiative was developed  by  Mary  Nally, Chair-person of the voluntary organisation Third Age Foundation, after she identified a need for accessible English classes for new members of the community in Summerhill, County Meath. The first classes ran two years ago and since its inception it has provided basic language support to over 160 people from 20 different countries. The Tramore venture will be a continuation of this initiative.
The programme is student-centred and delivered in a way that is welcoming, inclusive and practical in nature. Each week a topic is chosen for discussion, from everyday situations such as “visiting the Doctor” or  “shopping” to more complex, practical lessons, such as ones based on “form filling” or debating topical issues, for example. Fáilte Isteach also operates a homework club for school children to enable parents to attend who may not have a baby-sitting contact available, while some younger students also attend the classes with their parents. Local employers also recognise the value of what the volunteers are doing and have sent some of their staff along to improve their language skills.
Mary Nally said the programme in Summerhill has had an enormous positive impact on volunteers, migrants and the wider community.
Volunteers in Tramore, who want to find out about tutoring on a Fáilte Isteach Programme at the Riverstown Community Centre should contact Karen O’Sullivan, Project Coordinator.  Volunteering is open to all age-groups and you do not need to be a qualified teacher to apply.
Local Councillor Joe Conway, who is assisting Karen with the project, stresses that a volunteer’s personal qualities are much more important than any professional experience or qualifications.
He said: “We’re looking for people who are outgoing, generous with their time and have an open attitude to working with and helping people from abroad. People who volunteered in Summerhill have got a huge amount from the programme and we believe that will be the experience of volunteers in Tramore also”.
If you wish to find out more about volunteering for the Fáilte Isteach programme, contact Karen at 051-394817, Mobile 086-0540831, or via email: karenos@iol.ie.
Further details are available at the website:  www.thirdagefoundation.ie
Third Age Foundation
The Third Age Foundation, based in Summerhill, is an older people’s organisation, run by older people for older people. It empowers and enables its members, presenting new ideas and opening up new possibilities. Everyone is welcome – members are not asked for a birth certificate, an address or a country of origin – but organise and take part in intergenerational and intercultural projects, partnership projects with a local long-stay residential care facility and a local Traveller group, lifelong learning, drama, IT, health and fitness projects… the list is endless. Visit the website: www.thirdagefoundation.ie.