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Social History:  Derby 


By the 1950s, Derby had an established Chinese community. Migrants arriving in the 1960s often came to join relatives and work in the growing Chinese catering business. Many came from the villages of Hong Kong’s New Territories, and by the late 1970s there were around 50 Chinese families settled in the city. Because of their rural backgrounds, few had received significant formal education, and many struggled with language when accessing public and business services.

Local businessman Luen-Ying Leung, motivated by a desire to help his community, founded the Derbyshire Chinese Welfare Association in 1982. The association provided a communal support centre for local Chinese people. It provided English translation and interpretation services, advice for adapting to English culture, and a way to connect with local government. The association also enabled the Derby community to network with other Chinese communities in the UK.

Following a long negation, the Derby City Council granted the association a plot of land in Abbey Street. Mr Leung and the community spent the following few years raising funds to build on the site. The Derby Chinese Community Centre was completed in 1986 and the opening ceremony attracted 2,000 guests from across the UK. Mr Leung served as chairman of the association until his retirement in 2010.

The centre continues to serve the Chinese community and provides regular activities and clubs including Tai Chi, Dancing, Mahjong, Qigong, and Karaoke. The centre, which boasts an impressive stage, also hosts celebrations during major festivals including the Dragon Boat Festival, Mid Autumn Festival and Chinese New Year. The centre helps to prevent social isolation in the community and is a particularly important place for the older generation, as many retired members use the centre to regularly keep in contact with old friends.



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