London’s Eastern European community helped by City of London Corporation grant

The City of London Corporation’s charity, City Bridge Trust, has awarded Bexley-based Friendship Society (FS) £51,300 towards its accessible English Language support for young mothers in London.

Established 11 years ago and run largely by a group of committed volunteers, Friendship Society provides information and educational services to the local Eastern European community. The charity has five branches across the capital and offers a variety of learning sessions, including rhythmic gymnastics, music, drama, Russian language, mathematics and art.

Friendship Society received growing demand from young mothers from Eastern European countries for English language lessons, so they can communicate fully with health and education professionals. The grant from City Bridge Trust will help the charity to run the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes in the Bexley and Newham areas, and help around 50 young mothers each year.

Galina Clark, Director of Friendship Society, said:
“The City Bridge Trust grant is incredibly important to us, as funding for ESOL will have a magnified effect on the large migrant population from Eastern Europe. It will enable women to acquire language skills to be able to contribute positively to the London economy. It will also help young mothers to integrate in society, as it is impossible to integrate fully or be part of the wider community without speaking English.”

Jeremy Mayhew, Chairman of City Bridge Trust, said:
“Friendship Society has drawn praise for its good practice in the field of study support and out-of-school learning. City Bridge Trust and the Friendship Society believe that a more highly-educated community can lead to more opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds and family circumstances.

“The new ESOL classes will offer much needed support for many low income mothers who care for young children and currently feel that health and education services are inaccessible because of language barriers. By developing English language skills, they can achieve better social integration and also improve the quality of their family life.”

City Bridge Trust is the grant-making arm of Bridge House Estates, whose sole trustee is the City of London Corporation. It supports London’s charities and provides grants totalling around £15 million annually.

Notes to editors:

Media enquiries: Julie Zhu, Media Officer, City of London Corporation
T 020 7332 3451

About the City of London Corporation
The City of London Corporation has three roles: we support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration and skills projects. The Corporation supports education - with three independent schools and three City Academies – plus a primary school and the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama. We also help look after key London heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important ‘commons’ in south London. And – with its heart in London’s Square Mile - 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, research-driven policies and a long-term approach. See for much more on our uniquely diverse role, including the City of London Police, etc.

The City of London Corporation’s charity, the City Bridge Trust, makes grants totaling around £15 million annually to charitable projects across London. More information can be found at