About WFBG


Being multilingual brings many advantages – to the children, to our community, to our economy. However in many cases due to a lack of information, multilingual parents choose to speak to their children in English. Over 20 per cent of people living in Waltham Forest speak a language other than English, but Britain remains a very monolingual country where people speaking only one language is regarded as normal despite the fact that worldwide more than two-third of people are bilingual. Speaking only one language is the exception throughout the world, not the norm.

Waltham Forest Bilingual Group (WFBG) is a local voluntary group of multilingual parents established in 2003. Our aim is to promote, foster, encourage and celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity by supporting parents raising their children bilingually. 

We believe that the languages of our communities are the rightful heritage of our children, linking them to their extended families and their birth communities and cultures.

We believe that to be a member of two or more speech communities is an experience that is personally enriching for the individual and of great value for the wider community as a whole.

We believe that our bilingual children have a vital contribution to make to society today and are a significant indicator of this country’s commitment to value cultural diversity.

Over the years, WFBG has given advice and support to hundreds of multilingual families in Waltham Forest and North East London. We have received information and support from a number of experts on bilingualism and have even written our own book, ‘Growing Up With Languages: Reflections of Multilingual Childhoods’ which is available to purchase. If you would like further support and information:

  • We are now running our popular workshops for parents online. 

    Our workshops are free and are run by parents for parents. We use light hearted exercises, discussion, and question and answer sessions to give an introduction to what we have learnt about what works for different bilingual families.

    Click here to register your interest in taking part in a workshop – we will schedule workshops when there is sufficient interest.
  • Our facebook group – Waltham Forest Bilingual Group – is open to anyone who wishes to discuss issues around bilingualism, acquisition of languages, preservation of minority languages and related topics. There are also regular posts providing information about resources for bilingual parents in the local area and further afield. 

Waltham Forest Bilingual Group is a voluntary group run by parents of bilingual children. We give talks to groups and we use this income to fund our group’s ongoing costs. The group has also benefitted from grants over the years which have allowed us to fund our activities and develop new activities. We are particularly grateful to Awards for All and the Esmee FairBairn Foundation.