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International welcome offered in Maidenhead

Geoff Yeung is a busy man. He’s an Assistant Minister at St Peter’s church, Maidenhead and a part-time charity worker.

The role, part funded by the Diocesan Development Fund, offers a welcome to hundreds of exiled Hong Kongers to the area.

Geoff, a recent arrival from the city has helped establish the UK Hong Kong Welcome group in the town. It offers a monthly worship service in Cantonese as well as helping the new arrivals integrate into UK society.

The church has just completed a six week ‘Welcome course’ for recent arrivals. It’s continuing its support during the summer holidays with day activities for families and it’s working on a plan for an English conversation café, ‘Friends without border’, which aims to start in September.

Meanwhile Geoff is also working with asylum seeking families hosted in a local hotel.

“In 2022 we were longing to see how we could support the residents. Every year we organised a ‘Love Christmas’ event where we share presents with the local community, as a sign of the love of Jesus,” he says. So Geoff took Love Christmas into the hotel.

After six months of paperwork Geoff and the church are now recognised by the authorities and can make regular visits to the hotel which has over 300 residents from Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

“That’s the opening of another door for us,” says Geoff.

Geoff admits to nerves on his first visit. But he was greeted by a member of staff who recalled him from Love Christmas. The staff member introduced Geoff around and the ice was broken.

St Peter’s isn’t the only church working with the new arrivals in Maidenhead. St Mary’s and All Saints’ church also offer English classes and other welcome activities.

Page last updated: Thursday 3rd August 2023 3:01 PM
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