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English O'Clock helping people from all over the world to feel at home in Bishop's Stortford

From Brazil to Bulgaria, foreigners living in Bishop's Stortford are accepting the hand of friendship – and a helping hand with their English language skills.

English O’Clock is a new weekly conversation group set up by three local residents to make people from other parts of the world feel welcome in Stortford and to help them improve their English.

Organisers of the group, which is free to attend, have been delighted with the turnout at the first two Tuesday evening meetings at South Street wine bar Twisted Cellar.

English O'Clock co-founder Jim Tatchell, second right, with some of the foreign guests at Twisted Cellar (26810450)
English O'Clock co-founder Jim Tatchell, second right, with some of the foreign guests at Twisted Cellar (26810450)

A mix of people from Brazil, East Africa, Greece, Poland and Bulgaria, as well as the UK, got to know each other.

Englishman Jim Tatchell, who set up the group with Scot Izzy Allan and Frenchwoman Sonia André, said: "Part of the purpose of the group is to help with any questions about the local area, and we were lucky to have one of the volunteer leaders of the weekly Castle Garden Health Walks with us to tell us about that.

"Each person got a chance to introduce themselves – some needed more encouragement to talk than others – and with gentle guidance from the English native speakers, everyone took the chance to have a go.

"We also discussed some concerns raised by one of the group members about how children manage with a bilingual upbringing, where they speak one language at home and another at school or with friends."

The group meets every Tuesday from 7pm to 8pm at Twisted Cellar. Jim added: "The venue was perfect, and we thank the management and staff there for making us feel so welcome and looking after us all so kindly.

"All are welcome, so if you know anyone that's perhaps a little bit lonely or feels that their English needs polishing up, please let them know about us."

If you can help in any way or if you are interested in attending, you can get in touch via the Facebook page www.facebook.com/englishoclockbs/ or email jim.loclock@gmail.com.

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