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Changing Landscape of Chinese Community Centres in the UK

February 28, 2019 12:05 PM

CWT launch of research HoL 20.2.19On 20 February, at a forum kindly hosted by the Rt Hon Lord McNally at the House of Lords, key stakeholders from the Chinese community and guests attended the launch of an important research on the state of Chinese community centres today, the challenges they face and their strategies for survival into the future.

Chinese LibDems would like to congratulate Chinese Welfare Trust for commissioning this ground breaking research, covering 14 different organisations in 4 major cities in the UK: Birmingham, Liverpool, London and Manchester. What was remarkable from both the report itself as well as from the presentations from the expert panel of speakers was that the resourcefulness of some centres have ensured their continued growth and ability to adapt to the changing climate.

Ms Circle Steele is CEO of Wai Yin Society in Manchester, an organisation that started 30 years ago focussing on the needs of women of domestic abuse, but has since extended their services to the elderly and the youth. Together with support from the Halifax Bank, she had won the British Diversity Gold Award for involving young Chinese people in employment. Ms Steele stressed the importance of core funding for at least 3-5 years so that organisations such as hers are able to plan ahead for the delivery of services. They currently have some 65 volunteers supporting their staff team of 35.

Dr Yeow Poon, co-author of the report (and Vice-Chair of Chinese Liberal Democrats), has successfully used his management consultancy skills in the private sector for the benefit of the Chinese Community Centre in Birmingham where he is Chairman. Last year he was the winner of Business Desk Midlands Leadership Awards (Third Sector) and this year he will be helping the Mayor Andy Street in launching the West Midlands China Strategy. His advice for Chinese community centres generally? Either diversify and widen your user base or find a specialist niche eg in providing domiciliary care. Looking ahead he would like to work with corporates and individuals to set up a trust fund for Chinese organisations.

Representing Dementia UK and currently in talks with CWT on training the first Chinese speaking Admiral Nurse (specialist nurse supporting those living with Dementia) were Ms Claire Ferris, Business Development Manager and Jules Knight, a consultant Admiral nurse. It was marvellous to learn how they have helped to take pressure off GP services and built resilience within families from their specialist support that is "person centred and relationship centred".

The forum was chaired by CLD co-founder Merlene Emerson (Co-Chair of CWT with Ms Mei Sim Lai OBE DL).

A copy of the research report can be downloaded here: http://www.chinesewelfaretrust.org.uk/community_research_2018