Picking up the pieces: a former church has become a centre of the sort of unheralded social project going on in parishes throughout the country

06 December 2017 | by Paul Routledge

Migrant families


“Old Macdonald had a farm, ee-eye-ee-eeye-oh! And on this farm he had some pigs …” choruses the circle of two- and three-year-old tots. Then they pipe up with “Ring-a-Ring o’Roses! Atishoo, atishoo, we all fall down!” Peals of laughter fill the high, vaulted room.

It could be a scene from any pre-school nursery, but these toddlers are learning English without realising it at the Good Shepherd Centre, housed in the Guard House, which was the presbytery and former Church of Our Lady of Victories in West Lane, Keighley, West Yorkshire.

They are the children of migrants, mostly of East European origin, for whom the social centre is, quite literally, a godsend.

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