ICA’s THRIVING BEATS SURVIVING project is funded by City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust over a five year period. It will strive to bridge the gap between older Chinese people and wider UK society, reducing the isolation of the Chinese elderly and improving their wellbeing.
The project’s start has been delayed by lockdown restrictions in London but from April 2021 will enable befriending schemes, drop-in sessions, culture and leisure activities. It will give a voice to older Chinese residents – who often have limited English – and help them access mainstream services.
Thriving beats surviving will help to reduce isolation, and help older Chinese people to be more independent and resilient, which is needed more than ever at a time when they have had to face ignorance and racism prompted by ill-informed views on the pandemic.
This funding over five years will pay for wellbeing and information officers who will recruit and co-ordinate volunteers and offer a culturally sensitive information and advocacy service alongside social and cultural activities.
ICA expects to help older Chinese people in London, predominantly from Islington but also from neighbouring boroughs such as Camden, Hackney, Haringey and Westminster, many of whom face issues such as anxiety, loneliness or bereavement.
Elderly Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong Chinese and Mandarin-speaking mainland Chinese people often endure a kind of self-imposed segregation due to cultural differences in lifestyles and aspirations. Through providing opportunities to build their confidence ICA will help them thrive in UK society rather than merely survive.