There was a gathering from across the globe at City Hall recently as a diverse range of cultures from Africa, Asia, South America and Europe came together for the annual Failte Isteach end of term Awards. Over 100 participants went through the project during the past year, with over 70 eligible for Award Certificates. . The event was hosted by Mayor David Fitzgerald and was the culmination of a year learning English by all the attendees.
There was a buzz about the place on Wednesday morning as this was the first Failte Isteach face to face awards in City Hall since Covid restrictions, when the service went online. Everyone had a different story to tell but all agreed that faced with the challenges of adapting to a new culture, life was made a lot easier by speaking and understanding the common language of the country
Coordinator Theresa Delahunty said: “as we come to the end of another successful year, where over 100 participants went through the Failte Isteach English and Integration Programme, we are delighted with the positive feed-back we have received from our students. We know that the inability to communicate in the common language is one of the main barriers to participation in the lived life of the community. Our Failte Isteach Model was established to bridge that gap, by providing the opportunity to learn English and a place to practice, in a safe and supportive environment. Being able to converse in English helps newcomers to get to know their neighbours and be part of the community”.
The learners highly value the opportunity they are afforded to learn the language, they know that not having the language contributes to their detachment from many aspects of community life. The Fr. McGrath Centre is acutely aware of the importance of reaching out to our new communities and valuing their uniqueness and diversity, while at the same time promoting inclusiveness within the local community. The Project in addition to providing conversation English also links participants to a range of social, community and educational activities
The Failte Isteach Awards were not just for the students, as sixteen tutors who volunteer their time each week were also presented with certificates in recognition of their sterling work and commitment to the project. The awards to them were a well-deserved recognition of the hours they dedicate to teaching the language and their contribution to building stronger and more integrated communities, thus, making a lasting difference to community cohesion.
Also recognised for their work were the team running the project, Theresa Delahunty Coordinator, Samuel Morgan Immigrant Support Officer, Margaret Birnie Tutor Team leader, and support workers Elina Tkachenko and Oksana Ryaboshapka.
Immigrant Services has run the Failte Isteach Project and Support Services for Immigrants for twelve years. It is funded through SICAP by Kilkenny Leader Partnership and further resourced by St.Canice’s Community Action Network.
The next term begins on 20th September 2023. New Tutors are always welcome.
Further details can be obtained by phoning: The Fr. McGrath Centre 0567751988 or
Immigrant Services Mobile 0861927033 or 0861966073