Helping migrants and refugees settle into their new home is the aim of the English Language Partners Rotorua and a grant from the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust.

The $3,000 annual grant over three years will help the over 120 migrants from Asia, Africa, South America, and Europe that participate in tailored English Language Partners Rotorua programmes each year.

These include helping individuals find employment, improving their workplace or daily life English, and sharing the 'Kiwi' way of communication.

The not-for-profit charity education programmes are run by nine tutors and 30 volunteers, who dedicate their time to group classes and in-home lessons.

English Language Partners Rotorua manager Anna Hayes believed communication was the most important skill to instil confidence in migrants and allow them to fully immerse themselves into their new community.

"Migrants and refugees should have the opportunity to learn English, pursue aspirations for themselves and their families, and participate in all aspects of Rotorua life - our role is to help these learners and their whole whanau reach their full potential," she said.

"It takes a lot of courage for someone with little-to-no English skills to approach us - I've had people in the past who were too scared to even leave the house. But through our classes, their confidence begins to grow and they flourish into a whole new person."

Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust started supporting English Language Partners Rotorua in 2007 and has continued to contribute to the group's operating costs every year since.

Trust chairman Grahame Hall said the trust actively seeked to support organisations who positively impacted Rotorua, and English Language Partners was certainly one of them.

"The trust's operating costs grants provide organisations with funding certainty for up to three years. It's just one way the trust helps the Rotorua community thrive," he said.

"We've been awarding these grants since 1998, and each year the number of recipients continues to grow. So far this year, 116 local groups have been awarded funding for operational costs, totalling $520,000."

Ms Hayes said the grant allowed English Language Partners Rotorua to provide additional services alongside its Tertiary Education Commission funding, and to also think more strategically about where the money could benefit the community most.

"We're funded by the commission for eight weeks of the school term, so we use the trust's grant to continue classes for the remaining weeks. It is also used to help pay tutor wages, purchase resources, teach those on a working visa, pay for office space, power, and deliver new programmes."

"We're so grateful for the flexibility of the grant. It means we can continue to provide language classes for migrants and refugees who have chosen Rotorua as their home, upskilling the workforce and encouraging social, economic and cultural participation," she said.

In 2015, the trust awarded 112 groups with an operating costs grant, totalling $512,400.

Any group which has been operating for two or more years and is registered with the Charities Commission can apply.

Advertisement