Altrincham has become a hotspot for Hong Kong families since Britain opened its borders to three million of its citizens last year.
Estimates suggest 800 people have recently settled in Trafford from the Far East Region, according to Trafford Council.
Many have fled the former British colony – which was handed over to mainland China in 1997 – after harsh national security laws were imposed on the province in June 2020.
As a result of the crackdown and the British government’s lucrative offer, tens of thousands of Hong Kongers have chosen Britain as their new home.
Arriving at an average rate of 2,500 per day to Britain, Altrincham Today wanted to find out why so many have chosen to settle in the local area.
Various groups promoting inclusion have made Altrincham an increasingly attractive place to settle, according to newcomers. One organisation which has been particularly active at encouraging community cohesion is THK Together. The group, headed by Irene Tse, hosts events which bring all corners of Trafford together.
Recently THK Together celebrated the Lantern Festival – a holiday celebrated in China – at Altrincham Football Club’s Community Sports Hall, with hundreds of locals turning out.
Speaking to Altrincham Today, Irene said: “For me the main target is integration. We are really happy that we are a diverse club. It is so great that everybody can feel welcome and come together.”
“THK is not just for people from Hong Kong either. We are an organisation that wants everyone from all races to live in harmony and support each other. We will be doing an international event soon!”
Altrincham is also host to learning centres which help assimilate recent arrivals.
One thing which has impressed Hong Konger’s is Altrincham’s excellent schools. Out of The Times’ top ten educational establishments in the North West, four of them were in Altrincham, with Altrincham Grammar School for Girls at the helm.
Emily Chen, who came the UK from Hong Kong in June 2021, said: “There are many great reasons to live here but one of them has to be the schools. [I] left Hong Kong because I am very worried about the events going on.”
Another former expat Albert Lo told us: “I moved here a year ago after fleeing Hong Kong. There are a lot of changes happening in Hong Kong.
“The people are the best but the main thing we find here are the schools which are so good.”
Trafford Council has been working closely with the Trafford Hongkongers CIC, a non-profit-making organisation based in Trafford, helping British Nationals from Hong Kong.
Added to this, employment sessions have been co-hosted by the council. Late last year one was held at the University Academy 92 in Old Trafford with over 200 Hong Kong newcomers attending, offering business start-up advice, CV support and interview tips.
Pong Yau, a former council leader in Hong Kong himself, told Altrincham Today: “I moved to Trafford around a month ago. The council have been very helpful, job opportunities are amazing here – I love the area!”
A spokesperson for Trafford Hongkongers said: “Trafford Hongkongers CIC are grateful for Trafford Council’s ongoing support to Hongkonger newcomers regarding a wide range of issues, including child education, ESOL English courses, employment support and starting a business advice.”
Photos: THK Together & WenLu Chinese