New scheme will translate into help for non English speakers

Housing provider Derwent Living is seeking speakers in Urdu, Punjabi, Polish and Kurdish in Derby – to provide vital help for customers whose first language is not English.

The organisation is setting up a volunteer translation team. They will train four existing residents who are fluent in one or more key languages to assist with document translation and face to face and telephone interpretation – ensuring no-one misses out on accessing information.

After English, the most common languages spoken by Derwent Living customers in Derby are Polish (23.9 percent), Kurdish Sorani (14.9 percent), Urdu (10.2 percent) and Punjabi (7.6 percent) – and the search is now on for fluent speakers to join the initiative.

Volunteers will receive free training to gain an Ascentis level three certificate in community interpreting, a recognised qualification which could also provide opportunities for future career development.

On completion, interpreters would be asked to translate a library of frequently used documents as well as committing to a number of voluntary hours working with customers every month.

Mitchell Allseybrook, resident involvement manager at Derwent Living, said:

“We are an inclusive organisation and committed to equality of opportunity and accessibility to all our services by all our customers. This extends to ensuring that people whose first language is not English are not disadvantaged.”

“This project also offers a real opportunity for employment and career progression for four of our residents who might not previously have thought about formalising their skills in this way.

“It’s a win-win initiative for Derwent Living, for customers with difficulties understanding English and for volunteers alike.”

The Ascentis course takes approximately six months to complete and is provided through the International School of Linguists at a one off cost of £595 per person.