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Social History:  Nottingham 


In the 1950s and 60s, Nottingham’s Chinese community was very poor and their social lives were limited. Many did not even have enough money to use the telephone. Socialising with friends was often limited to chance encounters on the street or at the supermarket, and families would celebrate festivals by themselves, eating together at home with relatives.

In the 1970s things began to change for the better with the founding of a Sunday Chinese school for children. Parents began to meet and talk there while their children learned Cantonese. In the 1980s, a group of students from Hong Kong who wanted to support each other during their studies founded the Nottingham Chinese Welfare Association. Three years later, upon the completion of their degrees, the students returned to Hong Kong, and the leadership of the association was taken over by Jennifer Liu, a City Council worker. In the 1990s, two more Chinese community organisations emerged in Nottingham; the Nottingham Chinese Women Association, and the Nottingham East England Community Centre.

However, the Chinese Welfare Association is now the only active Chinese community in Nottingham. It provides a variety of important services for the community such as English translation, assistance with letters and forms, and help with communal integration. The association hosts communal activities including Tai Chi, film events, lunch for the elderly, arts and crafts, music and singing workshops, and afternoon knitting sessions. They also organise events to raise awareness about health issues, promote Chinese history and culture, and celebrate traditional Chinese festivals. They have provided the Nottingham Chinese community with an intergenerational meeting space which has been particularly valuable to elderly members of the community with limited English language. Nottingham also boasts a Confucius Institute at the University of Nottingham and an active Chinese student group at Nottingham Trent University.



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