City projects awarded funding to help welcome Hong Kong British Nationals
The Chinese Association of Southampton and City Life Church have been awarded funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities to help welcome British Nationals Overseas looking to relocate to Southampton from Hong Kong.
They join other national and regional projects which have been allocated funding to offer a range of support, including educational resources, access to mental health services, and help for people to find jobs and start their own businesses.
These Hong Kongers and their families chose to keep their ties to the UK by taking up British National (Overseas) status and have moved to the UK under a new immigration route opened last year, which reflects the UK’s historic and moral commitment to British National (Overseas) status holders.
Councillor Spiros Vassiliou, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture & Heritage at Southampton City Council said:
“We were really pleased to provide our support and backing to these two bids. It’s great to see they’ve been successful and are already moving forward. Southampton has so much to offer new arrivals – from it’s amazing and diverse culture and events, to world class parks and open spaces, our two outstanding universities, a thriving start-up and business community and so much more.”
Church Leader, Paul Woodman, said:
“We are delighted to receive funding to welcome Hong Kong nationals to Southampton and the surrounding region. We are proud to live in a City of Sanctuary, and this project sits alongside our enduring commitment to play our part in providing support, dignity and welcome to others.”
Vice Chair of Chinese Association of Southampton, Vikkie Cheng, said:
"We are so excited to be able to welcome and help the newly arrived Hong Kong nationals! This funding from the government will enable us to do even more to ensure that Hong Kong nationals will integrate smoothly and successfully into the local community in Southampton and the nearby regions."
The Chinese Association of Southampton BNO Welcome Programme
The Chinese Association of Southampton were awarded £20,130 to deliver a welcome programme for Hong Kongers arriving in the city. The project will help to welcome and integrate new arrivals into the wider community, with a focus on providing key information delivered by subject experts, experience sharing, cultural tours and conversational English classes.
Hong Kong Welcome – City Life Church and partners
City Life Church Southampton have been awarded £36,750, partnering with Citizens Advice, UKHK and Welcome Churches to deliver Hong Kong Welcome. This a community based in Southampton with the aim of welcoming people from Hong Kong to the Solent region in the South of England. The funding has also been used to create a new website, available in both English and Cantonese, to welcome people to the city and even help them to ‘buddy up’ with others that have relocated in the area too.
Southampton Hong Kong Welcome (English): https://www.hkwelcome.org
Southampton Hong Kong Welcome (Cantonese): https://hk.hkwelcome.org
The national Hong Kong UK Welcome Programme – Summary
A new immigration route opened on 31 January 2021, providing British National Overseas (BNO) status holders from Hong Kong and their dependants with the opportunity to come to the UK to live, study and work, on a pathway to citizenship.
This new route reflects the UK’s historic and moral commitment to those people of Hong Kong who chose to retain their ties to the UK by taking up BN(O) status at the point of Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Levelling Up (MHCLG) is leading delivery of a £43.1 million HMG funded national ‘Welcome Programme’ to support BN(O) status holders and their families to help them to successfully settle in their new communities.
Southampton is an official City of Sanctuary. This is a movement of welcome across the UK, from community groups to councils, schools to libraries, these vibrant networks provide support, dignity and welcome to refugees and people seeking sanctuary.