Group call for a new home to help families in Eastern Europe
U Island CIC supports children and their families in Eastern Europe with mentoring services, language courses and social groups, to help people adjust to life in the UK.
Unfortunately, the group was renting a building on West Bromwich High Street from another community group, and neither group was told by the landlord that they had sold the building.
U Island CIC founder Irina Oshenye said: “It was scary and very sad news on Christmas. We didn’t know where to go or what to do.
“Unfortunately, we are still looking for new premises because we haven’t found anything yet.
“We are appealing to anyone with knowledge of unused premises to contact us. We will take care of the building and the premises, but it must be affordable.
“We don’t charge a lot for the sessions and some kids get free entry because they’re from low-income families, plus we pay staff so we’re struggling.
“West Bromwich is the easiest place for us because of local transportation, but we’re happy to be just about anywhere in Sandwell as over 90 percent of our members live here.”
While the group was able to move most of its services online, its biggest project, the kids’ club, had to shut down.
The club, which offers business, art and drama classes and language learning for children, has more than 100 members, many of whom have varying needs.
Much of U Island CIC’s job is to help children assimilate into British life, including a mentoring service where staff go to children’s schools to tell them what support the children need, also advising parents on how they can help.
They also provide support to their families in difficulty, whether for transport, translation or if they do not have enough money for basic purchases.
Ms Oshenye added: “Very often when families with children move to the UK and start working, they don’t use English at work and instead use their mother tongue, while the children learn languages very quickly. in school and learn English within a few months.
“It’s very scary – kids shouldn’t have to go to GP appointments with their parents, to help them with counseling.
“We help kids stay kids, so they can adjust and enjoy childhood.”