Single Parent Action Network
Empowering – Connecting – Campaigning

"Without childcare I would not have been able to learn English"

  • Tuesday, 11 February 2014 00:00

Sibel first came to SPAN in 2009 when her daughter was only 6 months old. She had recently separated from her husband and could not speak much English which meant that she felt very isolated. With the help of a support worker she enrolled in a class of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at beginners level (Entry level 1).  Sibel worked hard and over the next two years she finished Entry level 2 and Entry level 3 at SPAN. As SPAN’s funding only allow us to offer ESOL classes at Entry level, she had to go to City of Bristol College to pursue her ESOL level 1 and level 2.

“Level 1 and Level 2 classes at the College are only offered in the evening which is difficult for me as a single parent. However, I really wanted to do it. Staff at SPAN helped me to find a childminder who could look after my daughter in the evening. However, after a few months she said she could not do it any more. It was very hard. I had to pay a student and also rely on friends. This year, I am doing level 2 and I have found another childminder. There is no childcare at the College even for day courses. At SPAN there is childcare also the times fit around my daughter”.

Sibel’s daughter has now started school and she is taking every opportunity to prepare herself to enter the labour market. At the moment she is volunteering in the SPAN pre-school to gain some work experience and she is also doing a level 1 course in Health & Social Care at SPAN.  

“I also went to the Job Club at SPAN and the tutor helped me to prepare my CV. She was very nice. I am applying for jobs now. I have done so much at SPAN. You can find everything here…Sally [SPAN’s Parent Support Worker} helps me at the moment when I don’t understand letters and also with the Job Centre and job applications”.

Sibel feels that the holistic support that she has been able to access at SPAN has been crucial for her to be able to move on and integrate in Bristol. She likes the fact that parents are able to access different things in the same place – childcare, 1:1 support, courses and volunteer opportunities.

“Personally I feel that I can feel more confident here than anywhere else. I don’t know why… Maybe because this is the first place I joined. Everybody here knows…how can I explain that…so we are not is not our first language so it is very helpful”.

To somebody else, considering coming to SPAN she would say: “SPAN is useful for people who have children. They can leave their child while they are doing the course. They might not find childcare anywhere else. For me this was the main thing. It was very important. Also, they can get a lot of different kinds of support while doing the course. For example after the course if you need support worker you can make appointment and see somebody. Other places don’t offer this”.