MAYOR’S WEEK: 17 – 23 MARCH 2024

MAYOR’S WEEK: 17 – 23 MARCH 2024

People of different ethnicities sitting at tables in a large room, with the flags of different countries on display
Groups of people taking part in a Worcester Language Exchange meeting

During my year as Mayor I have met so many interesting organisations and this week was no exception when I came across Worcester Language Exchange.

Frances Burton, who set it up, told me: “It was an accident really. That’s the truth to how Worcester Language Exchange began.”

Fran had moved to Worcester from Lincoln and was missing after work live jazz, where she met with friends. She had got used to the luxury of being immersed into the weekend by Friday at 5:30pm! At the time of her arrival in Worcester, Covid had locked down many social groups and so she started a French and wine group on a Friday straight after work. Through links made on the Nextdoor App, a French table formed in a local café. It became the highlight of her week.

Soon, along with French, they had German, Spanish, Korean and Welsh seakers. One day, they even had a Japanese table. It grew so quickly. Not only that but people came for so many unexpected reasons: diagnoses of early onset dementia, recovering from a head injury, bereavement, needing friendship. We all know what it’s like to be a broken chariot at times. In this age where individualism is more extreme than we have ever known it in our lifetimes, what we seek is community. The Worcester Language Exchange goes a long way to providing it and they hope everyone feels more than welcome.

So, whether you want to brush up on your lingo or support the English speaking table, come over to The Granary in St Martin’s Quarter. Bring some food or drink to share. Join a table or tables of your choice: French, German, Spanish, Welsh, Ukrainian, British Sign Language English as a Second Language. The table will run when people come!

Despite Brexit, it’s great to see organisations such as the Language Exchange and the Twinning Association thriving.

Worcester Language Exchange meet on the second and fourth Friday of the month at 5:30pm-7:30pm. Google them for more information.

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