The Migrant English Project

About MEP

The Migrant English Project:

  • Provides free and informal English lessons for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who live in Brighton and Hove. Please email to find out more. Read more on the Student Information page.
  • Provides a welcoming, friendly and safe space where people can meet others and receive support
  • Provides support, basic advice, referrals and signposting when needed
  • Provides free lunch & refreshments during the project

MEP helps people whose first language is not English and who may feel isolated.

We don’t always have enough room or teachers to give lessons to everyone who comes in. If we run out of room or teachers, we will always prioritise people who need free English lessons.

The project helps people gain the necessary skills and confidence in written and spoken English and it is also a meeting point for migrants.

The project is about supporting people in all areas of their lives. It is run entirely by volunteers and is a completely independent initiative.

Participation and involvement by all members is strongly encouraged, students and volunteers alike – the project belongs to you!

You can read more about MEP on the About MEP page.

Help in Many Languages

To download the leaflet click here

Information for people at MEP about Coronavirus

Coronavirus is a new illness that is spreading quickly. That’s why we think it’s a good idea to give MEP some basic information and tell you what we (MEP organisers) are planning. MEP has prepared an information sheet which can be downloaded here.

There is also a page including information specifically about supporting migrants during the coronavirus outbreak. You can read the information page here.

Doctors of the World has produced Coronavirus (Covid 19) advice for patients in 20 languages, which were produced in partnership with the Red Cross, Migrant Help and Clear Voice. you can find it here:

Voices in Exile padlet

Voices in Exile have created a Padlet (an online notice board), which links to dozens of resources that migrants and those helping migrants will find very useful. This includes ESOL provision, money and legal advice, employability, foodbanks and many other topics. It can be found using this link.

Fuel and food support information

We have prepared a document for people who need help in paying for fuel and food. Click here to download the PDF.

Afghanistan support organisations

There is a very useful document prepared and regularly update by Stephen Hoffman of organisations responding to the crisis in Afghanistan you can donate to, volunteer for or help in other ways. View the document here.

Learn English Online

For people who would like to carry on learning while MEP is closed, we have made a list of some websites and apps which you can use to learn English. Go to the Learn English Online page.

Translated Guides to Zoom

JCORE have produced some useful translated guides to Zoom video conferencing software which could be useful to MEP members during the time when meeting in person isn’t possible. The guides now include English, Arabic, French, Polish, Somali, Tigrinya and Kurdish. You can download the guides here.

Raise money for MEP by switching to Octopus Energy

For every person who signs up to Octopus Energy through the link below, Octopus Energy will donate up to £50 towards MEP’s Summer Activities for migrants, asylum Seekers and Refugees. People who sign up will also get a credit of £50 on their new Octopus Energy account. Click here to sign up.

The Hummingbird Refugee Project

The Hummingbird Young Leaders have made a video to help young people learn more about the lives of young refugees in the UK.

EU Settlement Scheme translations

Translations of the updated guidance on applying to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status) in European languages are now available online. Read more here.

Right to Remain Asylum Navigation Board

In April 2020 in response to the Covid-19 crisis, Right to Remain launched the online version of the Asylum Navigation Board. The Board helps people understand the UK asylum process, raises awareness of common problems people face as they navigate the process, and shares survival strategies. The navigation board, developed by Right to Remain, Dr Vicky Canning and Calverts Cooperative, was originally a “serious board game”, with a physical real-life presence. It was launched in 2018, with copies going out to asylum support groups, community service-providers, universities and local government departments across the UK. With people no longer meeting face-to-face and attending support groups, Right to Remain has developed it as an online resource. Right to Remain also produces the Right to Remain Toolkit – a guide to the UK immigration and asylum system. It gives an overview of the legal system and procedures, with detailed information on rights and options at key stages, and actions you can take in support of your claim, or to help someone else. You can view the toolkit here.

Information for people at MEP about Coronavirus

Coronavirus is a new illness that is spreading quickly. That’s why we think it’s a good idea to give MEP some basic information and tell you what we (MEP organisers) are planning. Read MEP’s Coronovirus Information Page here.

Welcome for New Asylum Seekers in Brighton

Brighton and Hove is now an asylum dispersal city. A leaflet with details of some of the organisations supporting asylum seekers, and the regular events and services they provide, can be downloaded here. The Sanctuary on Sea website also has a directory of resources supporting refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, which include these and other local and national organisations.

MEP Art Group

Between March and September students at MEP on Mondays took part in art sessions learning about collage techniques. Read more and view a gallery of images here.

Migrant Welcome Project

The Migrant Welcome Project supports a friendly and welcoming group that meets weekly during term time to learn how to access practical and leisure services and meet people in Brighton and Hove. About half the sessions take place at Voices in Exile, while the other half are organised trips and visits around the City. Topics and visits are chosen by the group members, with support from paid workers and volunteers. All travel and other expenses are paid for by the project. Download the flyer for more information.

Pictures from Recent MEP Events and Activities

As well our core activities, MEP members often participate in local community events, and arrange group outings and trips. To see some pictures of some or our recent activities, click here

Sign the Defend the NHS Sussex pledge

MEP has been supporting and advising Defend the NHS Sussex on the newly introduced charges and share of data.

For decades UK governments have been bringing in unjust and inhumane immigration laws and controls. The rights of people wishing to settle in this country, to work, benefits, housing, education and residency have been destroyed. Click here for more information and to sign the pledge.

Giving a donation

We rely on financial contributions to pay for rent, lunch, tea and coffee and travel costs. If you would like to donate please see our Localgiving page. Any contribution however small is incredibly useful and very much appreciated by everyone at MEP.

MRN – Know Your Rights

The Migrants’ Rights Network and partners have released Know Your Rights – A Guide for Migrants. The guide aims to help migrants understand their rights and how to assert them in 8 key areas of everyday life: banking, driving, education, employment, health, housing, social services, and the detention and deportation of homeless EU nationals. Read more here.

MEP Winter Party

There was music, poetry, food and much more at this year’s winter party. Read more here.

Brexit Guide for EEA nationals updated

JCWI’s guide for EEA+ Nationals & Family Members has been updated with new information about the ongoing negotiations, and updated resources for people looking to secure their status in the UK. Read the guide here.

Sewing Group

We are now running a weekly sewing group. This is a chance for migrant women to come and learn some basic sewing skills and make their own clothes in a fun, friendly and supportive environment. Read more here.

New online tool to help advisors working with migrant families

The NRPF network has produced a new website to help find out what support options might be available to destitute migrant families. It’s designed to be used by LA staff, voluntary sector advisors and members of the public. The web tool can be accessed here.

Advice on ‘What to do if you’re worried about racism’

The Equality and Human Rights Commission published a factsheet in July 2016 What to do if you’re worried about racism: EU referendum factsheet.

Brighton & Hove Fairness Commission

MEP contributed to the Brighton Fairness Commission which was set up to find out how to make Brighton & Hove a fairer and more equal place to live and work. The Fairness Commission released their report on 27 June 2016.

EEA Administrative Removal

The Migrants Rights Network have published a factsheet describing the operational process for the administrative removal of a European Economic Area (EEA) national by Immigration Compliance and Enforcement teams. It has been written for voluntary-sector agencies, local authorities and others working with EEA nationals facing homelessness. Download the factsheet here.

FareShare Sussex

MEP is pleased to be a part of FareShare Sussex

Fareshare master as CS2

TUC guide to working in the UK

Working in the UK is a TUC online guide to your rights at work in the UK.

Country of Origin (COI) Portal

The European Asylum Support Office’s public Country of Origin (COI) Portal allows users to search for country of origin information from different sources, in different languages and to be regularly informed of COI publications or events. Additional features (e.g. country or topic specific alerts, country overview pages, etc.)

Awards For All projects

Thanks to funding from Awards For All, MEP is running two projects:

MEP recipe book

During 2014/2015 people participating to MEP celebrated the cultural diversity of food across the city by cooking vegan dishes from around the world. Every month a vegan dish from a different country was prepared and served at lunch time to everyone at MEP.

The project involved people from different cultural background. Every recipe was created by a small group of people coming from the same culture or sometimes by a creative experiment of different cultures meeting in the kitchen.

Migrant English Project – Recipes from Around the World

MEP contribution to Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group (GDWG) quilt

Whole_GDWG_quilt (2)

The idea for the quilt came about in a GDWG volunteers local meeting. The idea was for volunteers to come together on a regular basis to sew and share stories of visiting. This was seen as a positive way for visitors to share their experiences and celebrate the stories of survival and overcoming hardship that inspire them. Subsequent research showed that political sewing has a vibrant history, including sewing to express human rights themes and women’s protest art in Pinochet’s Chile.

Visitors were joined by detainees in the art class in Tinsley House and ex-detainees from Tinsley House and Brook House who came to a workshop in Crawley. A competition was held in Tinsley House to encourage participation and GDWG volunteers were welcomed to join the art classes in the centre and to help detainees sew squares on the theme of ‘journeys’.

Pound Hill Junior School formed an afterschool sewing club for children to work on squares for the project. Many of the children chose to sew hands representing ‘the hands of friendship’ being shown to refugees.

Local organisations sewed their logos onto the quilt to show their support for the work of GDWG and Refugee Week, and the positive contributions that refugees make to our lives in the UK today.

Through this project, we hoped to tell detainee and visitor stories of journey and welcome as a positive focus of our wider work. This was seen as important by detainees, who had told GDWG that they wanted to share their stories, and by visitors, who had said in their local meetings that they wished to share their experiences and those of detainees they had met. We also wanted to use the quilt to reach out to the local community with a participatory art project inspired by the work of GDWG volunteers visiting detainees in Brook House and Tinsley House.

Article in Migrant Voice

Language, advice, support, friendship and belonging – the Migrant English Project (article by Emilio Casalicchio in Migrant Voice, May 2014)

MEP outings

We also organize days out for our students and volunteers  to get to know places around Brighton & Hove and further afield to London.

 Preston Park, summer 2013
Games in Preston Park, summer 2013
Football in Preston Park, Summer 2014
Football in Preston Park, Summer 2014

The Sail Boat Project

The Sail Boat Project has been working with students and volunteer teachers from the Migrant English Project to take people out on short sailing trips in Chichester harbour.


Refugee Radio – – ‘Migrant English Project actively work with and support Refugee Radio’ Read more…