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Community ESOL Project

Person speaking

Project Brief

UKSPF Interventions - E34: Courses, including basic, life and career skills


Preston has large Asian heritage and East European communities in the city as well as supported refugees and asylum seekers. In 2021 18.7% of the city's population stated that they could not speak English well and 13% of the same population speak English as a second language (ONS). 

Poor English language proficiency impacts significantly on these residents who are more likely to be socially excluded, economically inactive or unemployed and suffer from poor mental wellbeing.

Many new arrivals into the city are able to learn English relatively quickly, especially if they engage in English language learning programmes and/or get employment where they practice their English language skills every day.  However, there are also many residents who have less opportunity to practice English outside their families and communities and who are more likely to feel socially excluded; it is for these residents especially that this project is targeted. 

The emphasis should be on providing such residents with strategies for learning English outside the classroom (e.g. through reading a variety of English texts, watching TV programmes and practicing English language when engaging in public life) as much as directly teaching English language skills in the classroom.

Programme Outline

Preston City Council are looking to commission a programme of ESOL learning which combines formal classroom teaching of ESOL with less formal opportunities and activities for residents to practice their English language skills, such as participation in conversation clubs and computer assisted language learning. 

It is expected that classroom learning will be led by ESOL qualified language teachers whilst volunteers will be recruited and trained to support the delivery of this teaching as well as the delivery of other language learning activities.  All participants should be fully assessed to determine the level of their English language skills prior to engagement on the programme and it is expected that participants will be streamed and placed appropriate classes for their level of English language competence. 

The programme should cater for all levels of ESOL competence from pre-Entry level through to Level 2.

The provider delivering the project will be expected to meet targets for the progression of learners to other activities and learning opportunities. The focus of the programme will be on encouraging participants to get more involved in social and community activities, groups and events at the same time as learning English language skills.  If participants are not already undertaking formal ESOL classes delivered by organisations such as Preston College and Lancashire Adult Learning, they should be encouraged and supported to enrol on such provision.  Where appropriate, the provision should also deliver support for residents with ESOL needs to undertake job searches and job applications as well as providing links with local employers currently recruiting in Preston.

It is expected that the successful applicant will liaise closely with local voluntary and community sector organisations to deliver this project in areas where there is a high demand for ESOL learning. 

The provider will also be expected to provide some childcare provision for those residents who cannot access courses without it as well as some support with transport costs if residents have to access provision in a different area of the city.

Financial Profile




Total Expenditure

Year 24/25





Number of people supported or engaged in skills


Number of people supported to engage in education


Number of people receiving support to gain employment


Number of volunteering opportunities supported


Number of people supported onto a course through providing financial support



Number of people with basic skills following support


Number of people experiencing reduced structural barriers into employment and skills provision


People gaining a qualification or completing a course following support


Number of people in employment (including self-employment) following support


Number of people engaged in job searching following support


Number of active or sustained participants in community groups as a result of support


Number of people familiarised with employers' expectations


Number of economically inactive residents engaging with the benefits' system following support


* The output and outcome figures shown are the minimum which Preston City Council expects the available funding to deliver.

Applicants applying for the full amount would be expected to meet these targets as a minimum. Where an applicant is applying for a share of the funding, we expect outputs and outcomes to be delivered in proportion to the share applied for.


Project Timeline

  • Date of launch for commissioning - 8 November 2023
  • Deadline for receipt of applications - 15 December 2023 at 17:00
  • Notification of whether applications have been successful - 8 January 2024
  • Issuing of grant agreements, commencement of projects - 1 April 2024
  • Project end - 31 March 2025

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