Welcome In started in 2006 as often new immigrants in a community experience difficulties in their social and working lives due to limited or non-existent English language skills. Everyday activities, such as visiting the doctor, assisting children with homework, shopping, accessing rights and entitlements, understanding correspondence from schools, employers and other institutions are all extremely difficult if comprehension or expression is limited. Research often indicates that local, accessible classes for new immigrants are limited, and also that communities benefit greatly from the greater participation and engagement of migrants. Welcome In addresses this need by utilizing the skills of the local older population to reach out and welcome immigrants through English language classes.
The program started in Ireland in 2006 and quickly spread nationwide with almost 100 local classes engaging thousands of students and volunteers every week. The program is now spreading across Europe as well as to the US.