Hundreds of children and families from Manchester’s Hong Kong community came together to celebrate Lunar New Year on Saturday in Stretford.

Around 900 people attended the festive family celebration on Saturday (February 3), which took place at Stretford Public Hall and was organised by children's charity Barnardo's. 

Families were able to enjoy dance performances, live music, a magic show, games, calligraphy, Hong Kong story-telling and Dragon trails.

Interactive workshops were also held throughout the day, with families taking part in windmill making, creating rice dumplings, and dragon art and poetry sessions, with the Year of the Dragon being celebrated in 2024.  

Specialists from Barnardo’s and other partners were also on hand to give advice on issues including support for emotional and mental health, settlement information, employment, healthcare, hate crime prevention, children and youth services and Traditional Chinese Medicine.  

The Mayor of Trafford, Dolores O’Sullivan, attended the event and addressed the crowds, with volunteers from Trafford HongKongers and other organisations also there to support on the day. 

The family Lunar New Year event was the latest way in which Barnardo’s has been supporting the Hong Kong community in Trafford and Manchester. 

Through government funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Barnardo’s runs free support and advice services for Hong Kong British Nationals living in Manchester and across the UK on a Hong Kong BN(O) visa, through the charity’s specialist Boloh Helpline. 

The Barnardo’s helpline has a team of Cantonese-speaking advisors who provide advice and support over the phone, via email or webchat. Therapeutic support sessions can also be accessed in either Cantonese or English, and the team work closely with other specialist services to refer individuals for support as needed within the local community. 

In the UK, Manchester has the highest population outside London of Hong Kong British Nationals living in the region.  

Last year, Barnardo’s supported around 850 children and families from the Hong Kong community across Manchester and other regions in the UK through the charity’s Boloh Helpline. 

Andrew Tubman, Assistant Director of Helplines at Barnardo’s said: “We are absolutely delighted that 900 children and families were able to join together and celebrate the Lunar New Year at our special event in Stretford on Saturday. 

“We recognise that settling into a new country can be challenging. We work closely with recognised regional and national Hong Kong support organisations to enable Hong Kongers to flourish in their resettlement in this and other regions across the UK. Please get in touch through the helpline and speak to one of our friendly advisors if you need support.”