Ebenezer Community Learning Centre (ECLC) formerly Ebenezer Welfare Centre (EWC) was established by members of the African community in response to the needs of asylum seekers and refugees in 1991. The centre found at the time, and this has continued to be the case that refugees considered the Ebenezer Welfare Centre services to be less intimidating and more approachable than college based or other institutions.
EWC as a charity has been successful in delivering vocational training in Dressmaking, Information Technology and English as a second language to refugees, asylum seekers and the unemployed.
In 2005, the centre moved with the changing times and re-registered a new name as Ebenezer Community Learning Centre and a Company Limited by Guarantee.
ECLC is an educational institution which caters for the socially disadvantaged groups of North London and near-bordering areas namely; BMEs, refugees, asylum seekers, the unemployed and a wide range of clients from the EU countries.
Notwithstanding the challenges of the time, the name Ebenezer embraces a biblical meaning as the “Stone of Help”. Given this prospect, ECLC’s determination is to succeed in outreaching its community with a hand of friendliness, and a gesture of compassion and neighbourliness.
ECLC is situated in the heart of Seven Sisters NDC area, a place of great ethnic, cultural and social diversity. The proportion of Haringey residents are from ethnic minority groups, estimated around 10,000 refugees and asylum seekers. A significant proportion of people speak languages other than English as their first language.
This gives some idea of the vibrant diversity and grinding poverty we witness on a daily basis. Many of our refugee/asylum seeker community learners have suffered at the hands of repressive regimes or war. Many are separated from their families and friends: such circumstances are always difficult to bear and particularly unsettling.
Many of our learners also live in poor quality social housing or hostel rooms and some have ongoing health/psychological problems. Some of our learners have never been in a college/school environment: some have higher degrees from their own countries. Our adult learners with children find it impossible to pay for childcare so they are often late for lessons and sometimes have to leave early, but it is vital that our learners attend regularly and on time.
However, we do understand that there are legitimate reasons why some learners cannot be punctual mostly through, childcare and taking children to school or lack of money for transportation. Some of our learners suffer health problems and many become pregnant – these issues affect attendance and so we have to provide strong tutorial guidance.
ECLC is privileged to have a strong and effective trustee and management team who work to ensure that targets are met. Our diversity is reflected in the religious/secular differences of our staff and students. We have a significant number of Muslim students also people from Christian backgrounds, non-believers etc. Our teachers are aware of these differences and prepare lessons which include all learners and avoid learning materials deemed inappropriate.
ECLC is aware of the needs of learners and the socio-economic factors which influence their lives, and by learners demand, offers opportunities to client groups to develop their basic skills. It also promotes flexible ICT provision which enable users to progress to further education, training and employment.
ECLC aim is to provide quality learning and support care for refugees, asylum seekers and the unemployed.
The objectives of the centre are:
- To promote social inclusion by providing language skills to speakers of other languages.
- To enhance the quality of life for our users by providing training skills and the support necessary to secure employment and gain financial independence.
- To promote independent learning and further education.
- To promote and increase awareness of our users the opportunities available to them by providing up to date information and advice.
To date several hundred refugees and asylum seekers have been able to train at our centre and many are now pursuing higher education or in a better paying job.