As of the 1st March 2023 the government announced continued funding for the Hongkong Welcome Programme. This includes £2.6 million of funding for UK-wide and regional projects bids from voluntary, community and social enterprise (‘VCSE’) organisations to support Hongkong BNO settlement in the UK. Over the course of the last year SESPM has identified the following priority areas for the South East which should be taken into account when applying, these are listed below as our regional priorities.
Learning and improving English language skills (especially conversational English) – are key priorities for many HK BN(O)s. We encourage bids that provide opportunities for informal English language learning tailored to the needs of people from Hong Kong, linking them in as much as possible to other migrant and local communities to help facilitate integration. Applications in this area would be expected to show how they would link in with local authority provided ESOL provision in order to compliment not duplicate authority led provision.
Mental health support – Many HK BN(O)s are still dealing with the trauma of leaving HK and the circumstances which led to their decision to leave (involvement in 2019 protests etc). For younger Hongkongers settling into a new educational system and making new friends can be very distressing. There are many reasons why support in this area (preferably in Cantonese/Traditional Chinese) is so important. Bids might wish to consider how former social workers or others with a mental health background from Hong Kong might be involved in activities.
Business and employment – People from Hong Kong may need support in order to make the most of opportunities in the South East. We encourage bids that seek solutions to breakdown barriers to accessing economic opportunities in the South East either through training and coaching into employment or through assisting HKers to start their own businesses. Similarly, applications are encouraged which demonstrate innovative ideas as to how HK BN(O)s can gain employment via online job search platforms or repositories of UK based Hongkong talent.
Youth support – (age 4 to 18). We encourage applications which seek to help these young people to adapt to life in the UK, taking a therapeutic approach. Activity and outdoor based projects are encouraged in addition to projects supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Projects which target new cohorts of young people born after 1997 who have arrived via the extension to the BNO route within the November 2022 change to Immigration rules are also considered within this bracket.
Senior support – We encourage activities which help senior HK BN(O)s (60+) to make connections with local populations and learn how to navigate local services.
Integration -We encourage applications for projects which seek to help HK BN(O)s to integrate into their local communities.
Geographical Areas – Whilst we have listed the following areas (Milton Keynes, Surrey, Kent, Oxfordshire, Reading, Wokingham, Brighton, Southampton) as areas where we know there are large Hongkong communities (and therefore where more help may be needed), applications can be received from across the South East.
How to apply
Access the gov.uk website to see the full prospectus and application form