A group of asylum seekers studying in Wirral took time out to learn about crown green bowls during a special session this week.

The group, on an English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course at Wirral Met College joined members of Port Sunlight Village and Works Bowling Club at its green for the session on Tuesday afternoon.

Wirral Globe:

Refugees learn the art of crown green bowls in Port Sunlight. Picture: Craig Manning

It was organised and funded by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority as part of its pioneering 'Test and Learn' initiative to encourage innovate ways to improve adult education.

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The lesson begins ... Picture: Craig Manning

Wirral Met College has used the extra funding to create a unique curriculum of events – from ferry and safari park trips to visits to vaccination centres and libraries – to help refugees integrate in British life and boost language skills.

The Federation of Crown Green Bowls is looking to make the sessions a fixture nationally across clubs.

Wirral Globe:

Refugees learn the art of crown green bowls in Port Sunlight. Picture: Craig Manning

The students taking part in the bowls session are from Afghanistan El Salvador, Syria, Kurdistan and Iraq. They currently live across Liverpool City Region.

Among them was Rafiullah Enayet (pictured, below), who came to England from Afghanistan in 2018.

The 22-year-old, based in Liverpool, is currently on an IT course and will go to university, with plans to work for Microsoft Office.

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He told the Globe: "This was my first attempt at crown green bowling, so we learned how it is played and what the rules are. It's a fun game, I like it.

"We have a game like this in Afghanistan; it's not exactly the same, but has the same rules. You have two sticks and of them is used to hit the other."

Wirral Globe:

Refugees learn the art of crown green bowls in Port Sunlight. Picture: Craig Manning

Wirral Met Principal Sue Higginson said: "Our ESOL students come to college to learn English as another language; sometimes not their second, sometimes their third or fourth.

"Many of our ESOL students are asylum seekers and refugees, so to help them settle in their new home, we are there to support them.

"We asked what the students were interested in and because we're in Port Sunlight it goes beyond bowls; you're looking at a piece of our heritage and history which they can also learn from."

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Refugees prepare for crown green bowls session in Port Sunlight. Picture: Craig Manning

Bill Dow, Merseyside Crown Green Bowls Association development officer, told the Globe: "I think it's great that they wanted to take part in something and take great interest in our English Heritage and become part of our community. I'm all for that and will do everything I can to help.

"The aim is to make them feel at home, feel safe and be inclusive. There's no reason why these people should be disbarred from any part of our community.

"It's a great sport, everyone should try it. Everyone thinks of it as being a little old white man's game.

"It isn't. It's a sport for everybody and teaches people respect for eachother."

Wirral Globe:

The action on Port Sunlight crown green bowls green. Picture: Craig Manning

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region, said: "Building a new life when you're far away from home can be a real challenge, especially those seeking refuge from war, famine, or persecution.

"We want to help make that transition as easy as possible, helping people to settle in their new communities and get a sense of our culture.

"Because we have control over how adult education funding is spent locally, we're able to pilot new and innovative ways of supporting people.

"This pilot is a perfect example of that. Rather than theoretical classroom learning, we’re easing new arrivals into their new homes helping them learn English by interacting with their friends and neighbours – and seeing much better, faster results!

"This is the devolution difference, empowering people to start afresh and build a better future for themselves and their families.

"Our region has been a sanctuary to people seeking refuge for centuries, a legacy we're proud to continue today. Our message is clear: the Liverpool City Region is open to all.

"We will give you the support you need to help you – and our area - grow."