The Oxfordshire Chinese Community and Advice Centre has been operating for 26 years
The UK’s Oxfordshire Chinese Community and Advice Centre is set to close due to funding cuts.
According to Oxford Mail, the centre supported 9000 Chinese people across the county and had run for 26 years. Operators of the community centre said city council cuts will force the organisation to shut its doors on 31 July.
Boris Wong, the 29-year-old spokesperson and administrator for the centre, called it a “sad day” for the Oxford Chinese community. “There is more demand for the services and more and more people from China. We help them to integrate and also offer practical things like speaking English,” Wong said. “It is very sad of course and when we broke the news to the Chinese community they said ‘please don’t close, please keep it open.’ They are very upset by it.”
“There is no alternative for them here, some of them they are having to travel to London because now we don’t have the resources.”
“We are appealing for help to keep the centre going. So far we have raised just £300.”
Despite providing some cash for the centre, the Oxford City Council reportedly stopped funding the organisation in 2011. £24,676 was slashed from its budget last April.
The running costs of the centre add up to around £80,000 according to Mr Wong. To operate beyond 31 July, the organisation needs to raise at least £60,000.
“There are a lot of people from mainland China here and the number is growing. There are some elderly people that really need the English help.”
“They need the help from the centre to carry out day-to-day things.”
“There are so many people that need the help but we just don’t have enough money.”
It is estimated that there are 9000 Oxfordshire residents who came from China, with about 5600 based in the city.
Paul Smith, a spokesperson from the Oxfordshire County council, discussed operating translation services via phone and email. “The service helps with queries around benefits, money advice, budgeting, and other welfare issues and will link you into services that can provide further support.”
Smith reportedly added that the centre would be elighbly to apply for transitional funding of £18800 for its daytime support.
“Between 2012/13 and 2014/15, Oxford City Council provided the Chinese Community and Advice Centre with £6,020 in grants for a variety of initiatives, including to promote healthy living and room hire for New Year celebrations.”
“We have not received any grant applications from the group since then. Every year the City Council provides £1.4m of funding to community and voluntary groups across Oxford.”