Talk to relevant local people
The first thing you'll need to think about is are there enough local migrants to warrant a Fáilte Isteach branch in your community?
Assess the local need by talking to the people in your community who will know. Talk to local migrants and people or organisations who are working with them to understand if English language classes would be beneficial. You don't need to show that there is any particular number of people interested but once you know there are a small number of people who would benefit then you'll know there is enough demand to get started.
Once you have established that there is a need locally, you'll need to figure out who the people are that can support the project locally in your community?
This may include local schools, VEC, Local Area Partnership, Library, Town Council, Migrant Organisations, Solas, Local Community Groups, Family Resource Centres or the Local Parish Centre.
Arrange to meet with as many of these groups as you can and tell them why you think Fáilte Isteach classes would benefit your community.
When speaking to them, remember the list of resources you need and ask them if there's anything they could help with e.g. recruiting volunteers or finding a venue.
Find a Suitable Venue
The first big step is finding a suitable venue. This is one which is in a central location, is easily accessible to those without a car, is able to accommodate up to 60 people and provides a safe environment for all. Ideally, this venue would be accessible free of charge e.g. a local community centre or resource centre.
Now might be a good time to get in touch with your mentor who can give you some tips & advice on finding a venue. Email [email protected] changex.org and we'll put you in touch!
Ensuring that the venue has internet connection will be important for some of the training sessions. The experience of Fáilte Isteach right across Ireland is that there is always a location available free of charge for a community purpose such as this.
Remember that when you're asking for access to a venue it's for the benefit of the whole community and not just for you.
At this stage you might want to visit another Fáilte Isteach branch to see exactly how it works - you can find your nearest branch here and arrange a visit.
Find 10 Volunteers & Conduct Training
Once you've confirmed demand and found a suitable venue the next step will be recruiting your volunteers to actually deliver the classes. Volunteers do not require prior teaching experience or a teaching qualification as all training is provided. These volunteers may be people you know in the community or you could look for volunteers at your local volunteer centre, in a local active ageing group or some of the people you spoke to in Step 1 may be able to help you out in finding the right people.
All volunteers are asked to sign up to and commit to the volunteer policy and a code of conduct outlining the values and ethos of the initiative. You'll be sent a copy of each of these documents once you sign up to get started.
Fáilte Isteach provides 2 training sessions for all branches before they commence. Experienced Fáilte Isteach facilitators will attend the first three sessions to provide support, guidance and debriefing to the volunteers.
The first training is an Induction Workshop and the second is a Tutor Training Workshop which will both be provided by Fáilte Isteach HQ either via webinar or in person. Training manuals will be delivered to you by post in advance of this session.
At this stage you might want to visit another Fáilte Isteach branch to see exactly how it works - find your nearest branch in the locations tab and arrange a visit.
Fáilte Isteach also provides 3 booklets (beginner, intermediate and advanced) which are used by both the tutors and students in the classes. These can be ordered from Fáilte Isteach in advance of commencing classes. These are provided free of charge initially by Fáilte Isteach and any subsequent orders are charged at cost price (approximately 2 euro per booklet).We recommend that these booklets are given free of charge to the tutors, but sold to the students at a cost of 5 euro.
Advertise the Classes
The next step is to set a date for your first class and start spreading the word!
Get the word out about classes by advertising in local businesses, community centres, local newsletters or newspapers. You'll find that once the classes start word of mouth may be your strongest way of advertising but it's always advisable to do some local advertising to get started.
Some of the groups and people you spoke to at Step 1 may be able to help you with getting the word out but a simple notice in any local newsletters or newspapers will also help.
Teach and Have Fun!
At this stage you'll be all set to start teaching. Remeber that experienced Fáilte Isteach facilitators will attend your first 3 sessions to make sure you feel fully supported and comfortable.
Running Fáilte Isteach classes is often just as enjoyable and rewarding for the teachers as it is for the learners.
Here's what one volunteer said about her experience:
"At this stage in my life, Fáilte Isteach has given me an outlet to put my skills and experience to good use. It means a lot, and has given me a lot. As well as knowing I am helping others, I am also benefiting greatly – through the friendships I have made, the different cultures and customs I have learned about, and through the opportunity it gives me to continue to do something really worthwhile".
Marcella Sheridan, Fáilte Isteach Volunteer