Stoll, the leading provider of supported housing for Veterans in the UK, is offering free ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes to support its Gurkha residents and their families improve their English and engage more confidently with the wider community…

The first pilot course is currently running at Stoll’s Countess of Wessex House for two hours a week for 12 weeks and will come to an end in April.

The Countess of Wessex House in Feltham is a purpose built 36-flat development for ex-Service personnel with community spaces and therapeutic landscaping. It has a large Gurkha community and the new course has proved extremely popular with up to 18 residents attending each week. The course is being delivered by a tutor provided through English for Action, a charity providing ESOL teaching in the community. The tutor is also being supported by a volunteer from AFNO (Advocacy for Nepalese Organisation).

Herjinder Singh, Scheme Co-ordinator at Wessex House said: “At Stoll we believe that providing a safe and suitable home is the first step to vulnerable Veterans being able to rebuild their lives. But it’s also crucial for us to provide the opportunity to learn new skills and for the Gurkha community in Hounslow, learning English is an essential way of integrating into the local community. Ultimately we want to help Veterans who come to us to transition in to civilian life as smoothly as possible and be able to lead independent lives.

"We offer a wide range of wellbeing services, support in finding training opportunities and employment and tailored courses like the ESOL classes, to ensure we make this a reality. Given the success of this pilot we are currently looking for additional funding to enable us to offer more classes and meet the different needs of our residents. We would be delighted to hear from any potential funders for this vital project.”