As we have passed into our 3rd year running Heart & Parcel, we find ourselves looking back fondly at the work we have done, the women we have met and the hundreds of dumplings we have made (and eaten).
Over the years it has been really exciting to see that we have inspired so many others to create and set up their own ventures with cooking, dumplings or creative ESOL. In the past, we have had requests for how to embed English into cooking and how to set up a supperclub, which we have responded to by writing blogs and giving sample lesson plans here and here.
When we do our private workshops we know our structure very well. We come in, make our coffees, set up the space. We unpack our ingredients, get out pots, pans and rollers, attach our badges to the aprons, place the water on the stove to boil and await the arrival of our participants. These actions are satisfyingly familiar to us. However, the shape of the sessions as a result of the characters that enter the room is the surprise. What each participant brings remains the most exhilarating part of Heart & Parcel.
We thought we would share this lesson plan we have used about three times now with different groups. This is an all round lesson we have created that covers many skills. It works very well with group work and building conversation. More specifically for literacy and numeracy, this lesson familiarises learners with nouns, adjectives, verbs, spelling, quantities and process adverbs. For well-being purposes, it gets participants chatting, working together to create something, and the cookies are pretty delicious for open conversation at the end.
- Handout #1 1 per participant
- Handout #2 (cut up into strips) 1 per group of 2 – 4
- Ingredients – listed below (in addition – desiccated coconut, oats, sultanas, milk white & dark chocolate, cinnamon and any other ingredients you think might go well in cookies)
- Equipment – listed below
A blog from a woman who came to our workshop a couple of weeks ago, met the women we work with and tried some of their delicious dishes. Thank you so much for writing about us and we hope to connect with you soon!
Last week I had the chance to briefly meet Heart and Parcel at one of their regular workshops, this time at Inspire in Levenshulme. Heart and Parcel are another brilliant example of a project that mobilises the strengths and knowledge of people, and empowers its participants, building confidence and skills, experimenting with new ideas…Heart and Parcel bring women together, making dumplings, developing ESOL skills. Their work is funded through the dumpling supper clubs and market stalls they run.
Apparently dumplings appear in almost every culture, differing in shape and filling. As Heart and Parcel say, the filling inside dumplings represents the hidden resources and skills that women from migrant communities living in Britain today possess that lie untapped and unused. Heart and Parcel bring women from different cultures together, using English language as the medium. This new approach to ESOL allows women to develop their skills and realise their potential…
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Last week brought us to the close of our intimate supper clubs showcasing our dumplings that we have been making with women from migrant communities over the last seven months.
For those that are unfamiliar with our project, we ran monthly supper clubs from March – June alternating between Polish and Chinese themed nights. At these evenings we showcased dumplings we had been making with the women at our sessions, using the process as a starting point for exploring further recipes and experiences from the women’s own backgrounds – oh, and practising English too.
These were pilot supper clubs with the ultimate aim to equip ourselves with the necessary skills needed to ‘blaze the trail’ for the women we work with to start their own supper clubs and workshops. **UPDATE** Sure enough, they certainly have reached their goals and beyond! Read about one such success story in the form of a food blogger review of our Bangladeshi supper club, where three of our ladies cooked and hosted for 50 guests with no prior ‘formal’ experience of cooking.
Throughout the four months we have had 29 interesting and generous people join us at the table to get involved in our project and sample the dumpling recipes we created and developed. The money from the tickets went back into our sessions with the women, room hire, buying ingredients and creating English language resources for the sessions.
Who is this post for? Continue reading “Eight Supper Club Reflections”
Just reading back on this again. This message is really important. We feel we need to shout this from the roof tops; to tell as many people as possible about this.
There are many important issues surrounding our project; their influence indirectly becoming the drive behind Heart & Parcel. Having worked as an English teacher with migrant communities and Karolina working as an advice support worker, I feel the need to discuss the political messages that surround these communities and ESOL, both previously and currently in Britain. I hope this post may shed light as to why increasing numbers of people who, like us work in the third sector and specifically with migrant communities in Britain, are setting up social projects like Heart & Parcel all around the country, and why they are so important in the current political climate.
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We love this blog from Manchester-based blogger and food lover, Teasesame. For us, it just highlights the ubiquity of the link between dumplings and crossing cultures. This piece presents just some of the different dumplings from around the world that are personal to the author through the different cultural identities present in her life, and a little review on how she made them.
During my childhood, my parents were keen to ensure my siblings and I retained our culture, mother tongue and heritage. As second generation migrants living in the UK there was always a need to balance my two identities; though not without the occasional volcanic eruption!
I attended a Sunday supplementary school to learn to read and write Chinese. This took place from 1-3pm each week and was attended by hundreds of children just like me, my sister and my cousins. A regular ritual for my family was to go to China Town and at 12pm for a dim sum lunch before we then rushed over to school. In Hong Kong, dim sum is traditionally served throughout the day.From early in the morning for breakfast right through to late afternoon for late lunches. ‘Dim Sum’ (點心) translated means ‘Touch of the Heart’. If you’ve read my ‘About’ page, you’ll know that my name…
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There are currently many women living in Britain who have a wealth of pre-existing skills and resources to offer, but do not have the required English language level to do so. These are the women that Heart & Parcel aims to support.
What is ESOL and why is it in trouble?
The government offers ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision which is free English classes for migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers who come to Britain and need help learning the language. Due to media sensationalist coverage on ‘migrants’ and a highly politicized discourse, the general public have been ill-informed about who comes to this country, for what reasons and the amount of provision or hand-outs they receive. This misinformation perpetuates a negative view surrounding those who require these classes. A combination of all these factors lead to funding for ESOL being insecure and unstable (Hamilton & Hiller, 2009).
As a result, waiting lists for ESOL classes are long, colleges and teaching staff feel the strain with lack of resources. Recent studies into the effects of funding cuts in this area have documented a ‘culture of fear’ and dis-empowerment amongst staff at FE colleges (O’Leary & Smith, 2012). Furthermore, current funding is gagged by strict conditions from the home office and government policies as to who can benefit from these classes.