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World News

Over 500 churches to become 'Hong Kong ready' and offer welcome to newcomers to UK

by Chantalle Edmunds

A new website has been launched to help new arrivals from Hong Kong with their integration into UK life.

The site, called UKHK, contains information designed to help encourage integration and mutual respect between immigrants and UK citizens.

The website features a section called 'Community, A local Church' which includes a map showing churches that have specifically prepared to welcome recent arrivals from Hong Kong. 

The site details: "You will find a warm welcome both in Cantonese speaking churches and in English speaking churches. The churches on the map also have many volunteers who have signed up to help people from Hong Kong (whatever their politics or beliefs) to settle into the UK."

What new arrivals can expect in church is also explained:

"Every church is different but these can include: reading the bible and praying together, social activities (for example: mums and toddlers groups, community cafes) groups where people are cared for and looked after (for example: a foodbank where people can access emergency food supplies when they are in need) going round to each other's houses and eating together.

"You don't have to be a follower of Jesus to join in with a church community - everyone is welcome! Find a church near you on the map above and see what activities they have on offer to help you to make friends and find family," the site states.

Other sections of the website deal with housing, education and healthcare.

Around 130,000 new arrivals from Hong Kong are set to move here this year as part of the government's plan to open the door to Hong Kong residents with its new British National Overseas visa route.

Dr Krish Kandiah, founder and director of UKHK, said on Friday: "Moving continents is difficult at the best of times but it is particularly challenging during a global pandemic.

"That's why we want to welcome the new arrivals here today in the centre of London, conjuring the spirit of the 2012 Olympics, and show off the best of Great Britain.

"In normal times, we would also have liked to put on special events, like concerts, dances, poetry recitals, film screenings, park football matches, picnics, and supper clubs. As it is, we will have to make do with Zoom calls and virtual bonding for now."

Sarah Mullaly, the Bishop of London helped launched the website at St Martin in the Field on Friday.

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