History of Our AESEA National Support Centre
Our National Support Centre was first planned in mid-February and established in late February 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic that severely affected hundreds of thousand in our professional community and numerous SMEs in the UK.
Physically centred in Edinburgh but operated virtually for initial coverage of the entire Scotland, our centre team initially comprised of 15 professionals who dedicated all efforts to competing with time as situation worsened in the UK while taking care of their families and daily work.
Two weeks later, the Support Centre launched its Combat Covid-19 Project with 18 subprojects to tackle 9 affected areas that most concerned our community. Thankfully, we were not alone. During the time, we received support from the Scottish Government's Population Health Directorate, Police Scotland and Chinese Consulate General in Edinburgh. We prepared our community public health advisory reports with the help from the Government's Covid-19 Response Team, registered the first national third party reporting centre for Chinese community with Police Scotland and supported the development of the Chinese Community Mutual-Aid Network by the Consulate General.
In April, due to the urgent need and available volunteers from our Chinese communities in other parts of the UK, the support centre was transformed nationally to cover all parts of the UK increasing community projects to 30. With centre representatives in London, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Glasgow, Leeds, Oxford and Manchester, the support centre has created a third party mechanism to record the incidents of service users who got in touch. However, those contacted by centre reps had received useful feedback whereas the centre reps taking on morning and afternoon call centre shifts, did not. It was underestimated how many service users including victims still had difficulties in contacting the support centre. Therefore, rather than waiting for calls, in May 2020, the centre has restructured itself entirely into an outreach centre and devoted huge amount of efforts to promoting centre's work.
By June, the support centre comprises of including 5 teams outreach, social media, operation, IT, HR, backed up by YCP student committee and UKFCP Global Diaspora Coalition Team. Having found out third party reporting was not a common practice in England, the support centre first shared the concept of Police Scotland's third party reporting with NPCC, the Met Police and East & South East Asian community organisations in London at the Chinese, East & South East Asian Forum, which was well received as a good practice. Near mid-June, the lockdown eased in England and hate has globally grown at an outrageous pace, other diaspora communities have also experienced and attempted to address the problems.
UKFCP has initiated with the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) to bring together diaspora organisations from across the world to promote unity and find solutions to many challenges faced by most vulnerable diaspora communities. While at the same time members of East & South East Asian communities in the UK are reaching out for help, UKFCP has contacted major membership based diaspora organisations in hope of strengthening collaborations but not all of them replied. Thanks to those who replied, we realise we have to continue our supportive work not only for Chinese but other East & South East Asian communities.
In 1st July, 230 diaspora organisations have come together to send out a joint statement in solidarity with those who faced xenophobia and hate due to the Covid-19 pandemic. On the same day, UKFCP National Support Centre has transformed itself into Assisting East & South East Asian (AESEA) National Support Centre to also provide support beyond Chinese communities mainly focusing on hate incidents.
Today, our aim remains the same. We aim to do our very best to support Chinese, East Asian and South East Asian professionals and retirees when they need the most.
陈泉亨先生 Mr Samuel Chan
AESEA National Support Centre Manager