Dragon boats and dancing to celebrate Hackney's Chinese community
- Credit: Vicky Sung
The Hackney Chinese Community Services (HCCS) held a celebration for staff, volunteers and the local East and South Asian Community (ESEA) which included guest speakers from the council, traditional dancing and a dragon boat demonstration.
The organiser of the event, Jabez Lam, said the celebration was held as a way to mark restrictions easing at the end of lockdown.
He said: “For more than a year, people have been in lockdown and isolated. So we took the excuse to both celebrate the [Dragon Boat Festival] and thank everybody who has supported us through the last year and made it possible for us to serve our community.”
The HCCS was founded in 1985 to help meet specific needs and support the welfare of the local community. Today, it provides a variety of services such as the Hackney Chinese School, Elderly Luncheon Club and Mental Health support.
Hung around the community centre were billboards listing the accomplishments of the HCCS over the pandemic. These included counselling services for ESEA people, virtual film and book clubs and hand-outs promoting support services in the event of a race hate incident.
The event began with speeches from Mr Lam, the Speaker of Hackney Michael Desmond and Councillor’s Sem Moema and Susan Fajana-Thomas. The Mayor of Hackney, Phillip Glanville, was also present.
Councillor Desmond said: “I am really pleased to have been at the Chinese Centre to celebrate renewal.
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“We saw dragons performing and tai-chi, and enjoyed their wonderful food. It just shows we are moving out of the pandemic to a happier situation.
“It also celebrates the diversity of Hackney.”
After the speeches traditional Chinese dishes were served at lunch to the staff, volunteers, guests, and members of the public. This was followed by performances of traditional dragon, fan and sword dances by members of the community.
The celebration ended with a Dragon Boat introduction by the group The Windy Pandas, where the audience were invited to join in with the demonstration.