Chinese heritage

137. Jenny Wong (Manchester)

A dedicated volunteer from Manchester runs a weekend Chinese school helping thousands of young people stay connected with their culture.

Jenny Wong has helped at the Chinese Supplementary School since 1976 and has volunteered thousands of hours of her time to teach, coordinate and run school trips to enrich the lives of the Chinese community. The school, which runs for 2 hours every Saturday and Sunday and is located in Ardwick Green, has grown from humble beginnings to now attract 263 current students and 27 volunteer teachers. Jenny also played a key role in the growth of the school and the relocation to a larger space in 2006 to enable more children to learn language, history and the culture of China.

The Chinese Supplementary School is part of the Manchester Chinese Centre, a charity that assists local Chinese people through adult education to develop their skills and enhance health and social well being. People who attend the school often say they feel more confident and inspired to participate more fully in society. As well as volunteering at the school, Jenny has also been involved in many other activities, including setting up mentoring schemes, helping with Chinese New Year celebrations and reaching out to the local community to promote understanding and awareness of Chinese culture in the northwest.

Jenny is also a key volunteer at the Manchester Chinese Archive project which aims to tell the story of the Chinese community in Greater Manchester. Starting from just 4 postcards, Jenny has worked with other volunteers and the Manchester City Archive to gather 55 oral history interviews, films of community events, and examples of magazines, newspapers and art. The archive is now a permanent reminder of the value of the Chinese community in the northwest.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Chinese people make a huge contribution to modern Britain in business, the arts and culture. Through Jenny’s hard work and dedication young people in Manchester are able to learn about their Chinese heritage as well as celebrate living in Britain. I congratulate Jenny on being today’s Point of Light.”

Jenny said:

“I’m so surprised and honoured to receive a Point of Light award from the Prime Minister. I am passionate about enabling the Chinese community in Manchester to reach out to others in the local area and the Chinese Supplementary School has helped children from all backgrounds to appreciate and learn about Chinese culture.”

Attendee at the centre Rosie Cedney said:

“The Manchester Chinese Centre is an inspiring place, always providing a variety of programs. It is warm and welcoming, busy and bright. I have seen many aspects of Chinese culture there, from language to dance and Tai Chi. I hope the centre has a long and successful future!”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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