International Women’s Friendship Group

Mondays  10.00am – 1.00pm

Located at: Norwich Social Centre, Catherine Wheel Opening, Norwich, NR3 3BQ


Aims to:

  • Increase the social contacts of ethnic minority women through cross-cultural friendships
  • Decrease the isolation experienced by recently settled ethnic minority women
  • Provide women only English language and support sessions
  • Facilitate discussion of the issues affecting women of different ethnicities
  • Increase the access to and understanding of local services
  • Raise the level of confidence of ethnic minority women by engaging in activities which demonstrate the value of diversity
  • Increase the access to and awareness of local learning opportunities
  • Increase the level of understanding of written and spoken English
  • Provide a venue where local service providers are able to meet women from “hard to reach” communities
  • Increase the understanding of service providers of the particular issues for asylum seekers, refugees and recently settled communities
  • Facilitate earlier contact with pre-school children from new communities
  • Provide a  one-to-one mentor or befriender to partner adult participants requesting individual support


New Routes has run International Friendship Groups for women since 2005, in partnership with several local community and Sure Start centres in Norwich.


We work with women from 23 different countries, speaking 17 different languages.  Many of the women have little opportunity to meet people from outside their ethnic community or to practice speaking English.  Many are unable to attend mainstream groups and classes because of family or cultural taboos about mixed gender groups, or because of lack of childcare. Women with pre-school children are welcome to bring them to the group, where volunteers read stories and play with children while the mothers are able to learn English, make new friends and learn about other cultures.

We share a meal each session, prepared by members of the group.