Charmain was able to welcome our guests in Cantonese, but most of the session was in English. Several church members have signed up to help, including John, pictured below running a group, who has lived in Hong Kong and worked in mainland China.
The age of the participants was between two and 80. We had a total of 29 people and six volunteers from church on the day. The groups vary from those with very good English to people with no English at all, requiring an interpreter. These are largely people who have recently arrived in the UK as part of the government initiative to welcome Hong Kong residents.
Session 1 was a “Welcome to the UK”. We watched a video first of all in a large group, followed by a quiz, and then moved into smaller groups for discussion. We also had a shared lunch.
The aim of the session was to identify some of the problems involved in arriving in a new country. We hope this course will help people to settle in. It cannot be easy to move to a new country, especially when you don’t speak the language, or if you are getting on in years.
We also identified good things about living in the UK. Our course members appreciated the NHS, and local schools. To their surprise, the weather was not as bad as they had expected.
In a few weeks time, on Monday 20th June, we would like to provide a British meal. We would love some volunteers to make shepherds pie to make those who come on the course feel welcome. If you are able to help in this way, please email the Parish Office.
Someone said, “Heartfelt appreciation to the love and acceptance by all the volunteers from St. John’s. Hong Kong is changing, people came from HK experienced lots of ups and downs, laughter and tears … we need the support and understanding from the local UK people. You (the volunteers) did it today. Thank you !”