What We Do
“United Mothers” was named by participants in our first group, who acknowledged the commonalities between women from all backgrounds, including those who did not have their own children but cared for others. The project is open to all women from 18 years up, including British women with English as a first language. We believe that we all learn and are enriched by sharing each others’ experiences.
Developing speaking confidence is the priority for UM women. Using a Natural Voice approach, we engage and enable women of all abilities to develop and enjoy their voices, to be heard and to listen and support each other. Weekly groups work on issues of interest, developing organically to meet women’s needs. Groups run during school term times and are open-ended.
Face to face sessions are co-created and led by Practice Director Jodi Watson (Natural Voice) and a qualified ESOL tutor.
Online sessions are led by ESOL tutors and all work is supported by volunteers.
United Mothers Community Groups
Tuesday mornings: Ramsgate (Newington)
Wednesday mornings (with creche): central Margate
Friday mornings: central Margate
Places are limited and full risk assessments in place to comply with Covid-19 safety requirements.
To refer someone, please complete this form:
United Mothers Referral Form – download
United Mothers Chatroom Programme on Zoom
Monday: Tea Talk – social drop-in chat for lower levels
Tuesday: Coffee Chat – social drop-in chat for higher levels
Thursday: Life in the UK study groups
We support those with little or no digital access and/or literacy.
We can lend tablets and provide translated and 1:1 training.
To refer someone, please complete this form:
United Mothers Chatroom Referral Form – download
For further enquiries, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07516 552928
Community Networking, Events and Integration
Sharing and learning with our partners is an integral part of the work. We believe that integration is multi-directional and we all have a responsibility and interest in getting to know each other.
We are members of:
- SSEPM (South East Strategic Partnership for Migration)
- NATECLA (National Association of Teachers of English and Community Languages for Adults)
- NCVO (National Council of Voluntary Organisations)
- ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations)
- Women’s Resource Centre network
- Margate Early Learning Community
BTP works closely with local providers of early years childcare, schools, community health, refuges and adult education.
Until the pandemic, we ran:
TEN (Thanet ESOL Network) for providers to share information and respond to emerging learner needs.
United Mothers HAG (Health Advisory Group), meeting regularly as adviser/ consultants to providers and researchers.
- UM members are participant/ consultants on Families Support Families,
a programme run by the Education People.
- Powell Cotton Museum partnership
- Working with Canterbury City Council to offer ESOL support for recently-arrived Afghan refugee women
We frequently join outreach activities (Covid permitting), taking our “Hands of Friendship Tree” into junior schools, refuges, anti-racism events, church and festivals, eg Windmill Community Gardens Strawberry Fair.
Our large-scale events develop out of the United Mothers sessions, following an interest or idea which we explore. For example, “Take Flight” followed several months work on migration journeys into and around Thanet, common language backgrounds and learning about each others’ countries.
This became a highly-creative event, including an interactive game for visitors, movement and song, and food from around the world, all prepared with and by United Mothers.
Lantern Parade to open this year’s Power of Women Thanet! On Friday 4th March 2022.
The theme is women’s safety in public spaces, and we will be working on this issue at our regular weekly sessions.
For more information, please contact: email@example.com
All our work is aimed at building strong, positive relationships between those born outside the UK and local residents and organisations.
We regard this as a multi-layered and directional approach, meaning that everyone in the community holds a responsibility to create these connections and find ways to overcome linguistic and cultural obstacles to understanding and friendship.
We provide opportunities for partner professionals to spend time with us, and offer consultancy on ways to more effectively engage those from minority ethnic backgrounds.
Speaking Buddies (women and men)
Volunteers provide essential 1:1 conversation practice.
This can be for between 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the woman’s confidence and ability. At present this is all online. Speaking Buddies do not have to be teachers, just friendly, reliable and very patient. We ask for an initial weekly commitment of 3 months. Regular peer group meetings and online support is provided.
For more information or to apply, please complete this form.
We hope to introduce Digi-Buddies as part of a new project in 2022. If you are a confident user of all things digital and a very patient teacher, then we’d love to hear from you.
For more information please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
Research and Dissemination
Researching and discussing our work with others is an integral part of our own learning and development.
We have pioneered a completely new approach to language learning and community building, through combining the principles and skills of ESOL, natural voice and community arts. This is a fully-integrated practice, developed in order to engage, encourage and enable adults of all abilities and backgrounds to find their voices in confidence and fun. We believe that removing pressures as far as possible allows adult learners to participate in creating a safe, enjoyable space in which they are fully recognised and valued.
‘Participatory ESOL’ means that we try to fully engage everyone who wants to attend, for as long as they want to be with us or return to us. At United Mothers, all adult women are welcome with no entry criteria; there are no fees; we offer a creche at one group; we run sessions at local centres which are easy to reach. Everyone, including members, staff, volunteers and visitors are involved in planning the work and learning together.
We are connected with:
- Kings College London through the Hub for Education and Language Diversity (HELD), a collaboration between academics and professionals in non-profit organisations
- Leeds University through the Learning at the Intersection of Language and the Arts (LILA) network
- Canterbury Christ Church University through the engagement and support of non-executive director Sarah Christie.
We present our work at conferences and webinars, in Parliament, to policy advisers and partner professionals.