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Canary Wharf staff help women crack language barrier

PUBLISHED: 16:00 13 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:03 05 October 2010

OFFICE staff from London's Canary Wharf joined women from the Docklands neighbourhood for a lunchtime get-together to help them with their English conversation. It was part of a charity volunteering project getting business workers to take part in community schemes 10 minutes from their office

By Mike Brooke

OFFICE staff from London's Canary Wharf joined women from the Docklands neighbourhood for a lunchtime get-together to help them with their English conversation.

It was part of the charity City Gateway's volunteering project getting business workers to take part in community schemes 10 minutes from their office.

City workers get 'volunteering opportunities' they can take up in their lunch breaks or straight after work, while the women they meet get to practice their English like Victoria Liberova.

"My background is in graphic design," she said. "But I've only lived here for a few months and still need more practice with conversation and pronunciation.

"Now I am able to practice my English in a way that is relevant to what I need in everyday life, like calling the bank or going for a job interview."

The 'Literacy Lunch' project also addresses poor adult literacy rates with business workers mentoring women in East London in an informal environment. Small groups sit around tables for conversation and a lunch prepared by a catering social enterprise run by other women following a business course last year.

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