Hundreds of refugees in Croydon to receive free language classes to improve quality of life

Hundreds of refugees in south London will receive free English language classes to help them integrate into the community.

City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable arm, awarded charity Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (CARAS) £84,520 in funding to run the scheme.

The grant means that over the next three years, CARAS, based in Wandsworth, will provide English language (ESOL) classes to over 200 people whose first language is not English.

The classes will be available to adults in Croydon, as well as Wandsworth and Lambeth, who cannot access college courses for a number of reasons, including social isolation, childcare needs and transport. CARAS will provide a crèche service alongside the weekly classes.

The programme will help refugees to overcome language barriers that prevent access to rights, entitlements, opportunities and a good quality of life.

Alison Gowman, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, commented:

“This charity is highly regarded in the community for the high-quality services it provides with its team of 100 volunteers.

“CARAS ensures people get the right support for their own situation, no matter how complex.

“ESOL classes for refugees are a big step towards integrating in the community and moving forward with their lives in the UK.”

Eleanor Brown, CARAS Managing Director, added:

"Many refugees and asylum seekers arrive in the UK without the English they need to become independent, and cannot access mainstream provision that meets their needs.

“We are excited to be working with the City Bridge Trust to provide a range of ESOL classes that ensure that the newest members of our community are supported on a path to autonomy, confidence, friendship and belonging."

City Bridge Trust is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage and inequality across the capital. The Trust has awarded around 7,700 grants totalling over £370 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.


Media Enquiries

Kristina Drake

Media Officer, City of London Corporation

07710860884 / 020 7332 1125

 Notes to editors

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:

  • We support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, makes grants of around £20 million annually to tackle disadvantage across London.
  • We also help look after key London heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, the Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important commons in London.
  • We also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies, all reflecting a long-term approach.

See for more details.