Junior Ministers, Alastair Ross and Megan Fearon today joined celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the Chinese Welfare Association (CWA).

Set up in 1986, the CWA supports the Chinese community by promoting cultural diversity and understanding, providing help in accessing services and helping overcome difficulties of integration, the language barrier and racism.

Speaking at the event Junior Minister, Alastair Ross said: “30 years of work representing, championing and furthering the cause of Chinese people of Belfast and beyond is a magnificent achievement.

“The funding of nearly £55,000 The Executive Office has provided from the Minority Ethnic Development Fund (MEDF) this year to support the work of the CWA is a worthy investment. They are delivering exactly what the MEDF was designed to do, assisting minority ethnic and local community organisations to address the needs of people from minority ethnic backgrounds and promote good relations. Since the Fund was established in 2001 it has supported hundreds of projects and helped thousands of people.
“I congratulate the CWA for the help and support they have provided to so many of our new arrivals to become fully integrated, respected and enabled to reach their full potential here in Northern Ireland.”

Junior Minister, Megan Fearon said: “The Executive has strong ties with China and in the latest of a number of Executive visits, the First Minister and deputy First Minister will be travelling to China in December to further develop that relationship.

“At home, the Chinese community contributes a huge amount to our shared society and it’s so important for our minority ethnic communities to promote and perpetuate their culture and identity.

“The CWA has grown in strength and position over the years, and has kept pace with the growth and development of the Chinese community here. I commend the CWA team, both past and present, for the leadership, imagination and drive shown during this time. They have opened their doors for people in our Chinese community, providing emotional and practical support to help build a better community where diversity is valued and respected.”

Currently there are around 6,000 Chinese people resident in Northern Ireland, representing 51% of the total minority ethnic population.

Published: Monday, 28 November 2016