Welcome to English

Welcome to English was created by Karen van Diesen to help newcomers to Hull (mostly refugees and asylum seekers) to practise English, make new friends and find out more about living in Hull. They achieve this with the help of around 35 befriender volunteers, most of whom are qualified teachers. In the last 4 years, they have helped around 800 learners to speak English, learn about life in the UK and help them to adapt and become part of the local community.

October 2021

Harry's Hat Logo
Karen has worked in education for 20 years in developing countries such as Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. On returning to Hull after working with various organisations and people who were now living in the UK, including asylum seekers and refugees, Karen recognised the need to help these communities and the Welcome to English was born.
While the main aim of Welcome to English is to teach newcomers in Hull how to speak English, the support they provide is so much more than this. As well as teaching people English, they also teach them so much about life in the UK in general, helping them to adapt and become part of the local community.
Around one-third of the people they help are unable to read and write and have no literacy skills in their native language. Many have never had the opportunity to go to school. And so, finding themselves in the UK and learning the language is a daunting prospect.
Karen and her team of volunteers teach, befriend and use several different techniques to help people adapt to life in the UK and connect with other people.
They partner with many organisations in Hull to provide as much support as possible to help the service users learn about Hull, provide opportunities to practise English, meet other people, and help them get into work.
Funds from the Matthew Good Foundation will go towards resources and activities to enhance learning and wellbeing.
Find out more here: www.welcometoenglish.org

“We would be so grateful to you for opening the door to the new opportunities literacy brings, such as replying to a letter from school, understanding a poster for a community event, following a medicine label, reading a bus timetable, filling out a form or applying for a job. And, of course, being able to read and write will improve self-confidence and self-esteem.

Thank you so much for choosing us as a Grants for Good finalist.


Welcome to English

It was such a pleasure to meet Naomi, her energy for this project seems endless and she is clearly very passionate about making making a difference to the lives of young people. With limited funds and resources, Naomi has achieved so much already and has ambitious plans for the future, which will impact many young people in the future. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Market Field Farm grows over the years. With 95% of people with learning disabilities unemployed, Market Field Farm provides a much needed solution that may act as a precedent and a launchpad for similar projects throughout the country.

Michelle Taft

Executive Director, Matthew Good Foundation

Latest Project Updates

October 2021

Granted £1,000

After becoming one of the top five finalists in the latest Grants for Good Round, £1,000 was granted.