Stacie, aged 20, has taken part in a four-week Spanish course at the SureStart centre, to which she takes her children. This is what she says about it.
‘I left home at fifteen to live with my first boyfriend, because I hated my step dad.
My eldest, Ryan, is four now. I’ve got Derren, too – he’s one and a half. I just split up from Derren’s dad because he was hitting me.’
‘We’ve been rehoused on this estate. I’m glad to have a garden, but I don’t know anyone – that’s why I come to SureStart. And the kids love it. I don’t know how I’d manage without it, because I get really fed-up and bad-tempered with the kids at home.’
‘I wasn’t very pleased when Natasha, who runs the group, said we were going to do Spanish, because I was sure I wouldn’t be any good at it. I only did a bit of French at school, because I’m dyslexic, so I had extra English lessons. I didn’t want anyone at SureStart to know I can’t read and write very well. But it didn’t matter, because we only did talking and after the first week I joined in. I liked hearing about Spain from Maria [the teacher]- she’s Spanish. What’s really surprised me is how well the kids have taken to it – even Derren can say Hola! I think they must have a real talent for speaking foreign languages.
Maria told us there were a lot of people like us learning foreign languages as part of this project. That really surprised me. I think it’s a good idea, because I would never have had a go at it on my own.’
‘I’ve made friends here now and we meet up twice a week. When Derren starts full-time at nursery, I’m hoping to get a job at the new Asda and save to take the kids on holiday to Spain.’
‘Stacie was really depressed when she first came here but she seems much happier now. The Spanish gave her a bit more confidence and helped her to join in. She’s been able to tell me about her reading and writing problems and we’re helping her with filling in applications for jobs.’