Out and About: "Community Unity: A Day Out in Grimsby at Freeman Street Market"
I was invited to the monthly drop in session on Friday 26th January 2024 at the heart of Grimsby Market. This was their second drop in. A variety of essential services came together to create a hub of information, support, and community connection. This extraordinary initiative brings together organisations such as Citizen Advice, DWP, Era Employment, REP, Community Integration Advocacy Centre, Friendship at Home and Thrive.nel, also there’s a special flavour brought in by ESOL learners from Learning4Life.
At Grimsby Market, it’s not just about stalls and produce. Various services come together with the aim of raising awareness and establishing connections within the local community. The collaboration of these diverse entities serves a common purpose: to guide, support, and uplift the community by providing valuable information and resources.
Citizen Advice stands as a beacon of assistance, offering guidance on a spectrum of issues, while the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) provides insights into employment and social welfare. Era Employment and REP contribute to the cause by promoting employment opportunities and fostering economic growth. The Community Integration Advocacy Centre and Friendship at Home plays a pivotal role in fostering a sense of community belonging.
Through its efforts, individuals find a space to voice concerns and discover avenues for personal and collective growth. Thrive.nel adds to the tapestry, promoting overall well-being and resilience within the community.
What sets this monthly event apart is the newly emerging cooperative catering business initiated by the Learning4Life’s ESOL learners, a diverse group with a passion for language and culture, bringing an enriching dimension to this community gathering. Their presence adds a tapestry of international diversity, creating a space where new languages and customs are not just embraced but celebrated.
Inspired by their journey to learn English, these learners have embarked on a culinary adventure, showcasing new international dishes that reflect the rich culture of the community. Home-cooked delicacies line the stalls, inviting visitors to savour the flavours of different corners of the globe.
The ESOL learners have already made a cookery book as part of an ESF funded project, which was the trigger point for their ambitions to do more in the community and develop the cooperative. Guided by Sara from Learning4Life and NBForum, they have developed a menu which includes corporate buffets, demonstrations, workshops, home cooking and providing specialist foods for community integration events. They are also developing a list of other services such as sewing, furniture restoration and even podiatry. This project allows the learners to work at the times they can commit to, giving them opportunities to develop skills needed to gain meaningful employment in the future as well as continuing to improve their English skills.
Once a month the drop in celebrates the synergy of essential services, community initiatives, and the cooperative spirit that transforms Grimsby Market into a vibrant hub of awareness, connection, and culinary delight. Together, they savour the richness that diversity brings to their community.
Safina Arif, 26th January 2024