Organisations who help Hong Kongers coming to live and work in the UK have been awarded £2.6 million by the government today.

This further year of funding for the Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Welcome Programme for 2023/24 has been allocated to 47 civil society organisations, providing BN(O) visa holders with vital language, employment and mental health support.

Since the launch of the Hong Kong BN(O) Welcome Programme in 2021, over 166,000 eligible Hong Kongers and their family members have chosen to make the UK their home by applying for the BN(O) visa.

In previous funding rounds, the Welcome Programme has funded Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations to support BN(O)s in areas such as employability, mental health and wellbeing, and social integration, making a huge difference to people’s lives.

Minister for the Hong Kong BN(O) Welcome Programme, Felicity Buchan, said:

“We are proud to provide 47 projects that support Hong Kongers work and live in the UK with £2.6M government funding. An incredible 166,000 – and counting – Hong Kongers and their dependants have been given new lives in the UK - free to live, work, and study, in virtually any capacity, on a pathway to citizenship

“Hong Kongers have become a vibrant part of our communities and dynamos behind new businesses and social enterprises, making a fantastic contribution to our national life.”

The projects allocated funding today include:

Good Neighbour Church: offering UK-wide support, including English language courses, activities for children and young people, outreach and career workshops.

Barnardo’s: a UK-wide helpline, Boloh, will provide access to specialist mental health and wellbeing support for BN(O)s and their families.

Trafford Hongkongers (England only): a project in North West England that offers wellbeing and integration for school children with workshops, community integration through martial arts and Information Technology workshops.

Harbour Sports Club (England only): A project in London and the South East promoting integration, mental health and wellbeing through sports and social events, and tackling social isolation among the elderly in particular.

St Francis Employability (England only): A project in the West Midlands, offering employability support through workshops, skills courses, training, and support with finding volunteering and work placements.

Positive Youth Foundation in Coventry is one of the community schemes to be funded for a third year through the programme.  Since April 2022, they have supported 68 young BN(O)s with English language, homework clubs and sports activities. They said:

“Our English language sessions have played a crucial role in enhancing English skills, boosting confidence, and promoting overall learning.

“Through our sports sessions and homework clubs, we are delighted to witness the formation of friendships that transcend ethnic boundaries, enabling BN(O) young people to establish connections and feel a sense of belonging within their new environment.”

Today’s allocations are part of the ongoing Welcome Programme, which also provides the following:

Continued funding for the network of 12 Welcome Hubs across the UK, helping BN(O)s understand and connect to services in their local area.

Further funding for On Your Side, the reporting and support service for BN(O)s and all other East and Southeast Asian communities in the UK who experience or witness racism or any other form of hate*.

Further funding for English language classes, and destitution support if needed, provided through local authorities in England. Over 5,000 BN(O)s have been supported with English through this funding.

Continued updates to our dedicated GOV.UK page, including our Welcome Pack, available in English and Cantonese. Photo by Steve Cadman, Wikimedia commons.