Chinese & Vietnamese Advocacy & Volunteer Project

The Chinese & Vietnamese Advocacy & Volunteer project has been completed and is now closed. This page is for information only.

WHFS (Women’s Health & Family Services) has been supporting the relatively small (but rapidly growing) Chinese and Vietnamese communities in Tower Hamlets since the charity was launched in 1981.   Our tri-lingual health advocate, My Diep, has extensive first-hand experience of engaging and supporting these communities, having worked for WHFS for 30 years, including leading the Supporting Bilingual Families project for its entire 22-year duration, until its completion in 2015. 

In 2016, London Catalyst funded a 6-month project to enable WHFS to continue our work in this area, to run until 30th June 2016; the project’s main aims are to:

  • Provide advice and advocacy on health and welfare issues for the Chinese and Vietnamese communities in Tower Hamlets;
  • Encourage and train young people (18 to 25) from these communities to volunteer as Peer Supporters.

Advice and Advocacy

My Diep provides one-to-one sessions with people who have difficulty accessing health and welfare services because they cannot communicate in English, or lack understanding of these systems.  The project offers support across the communities, but is mainly aimed at older people (generally over 60) and pregnant women, as our outreach work has identified these groups as at most risk of increased poverty and developing unnecessary health complications due to their inability to access adequate support.

WHFS works in partnership with other agencies, such as Doctors of the World, who will treat patients until they are able to register with a GP.   We also offer tailored support to pregnant women from the 5th month of pregnancy, through to birth and the early weeks of motherhood with our Maternity Mates service (please click here for details).

Developing Confidence and Independence

Our advocacy work is aimed at making people aware of the options available that will enable them to make informed decisions about their welfare, and that of their families and dependents.  We actively encourage and highlight the need to learn English, signposting to English language classes and other relevant services that will enhance employability, improve confidence and help develop social independence.

Volunteer Peer Supporters

WHFS will recruit and train young (18 to 25) Chinese and Vietnamese volunteers in advocacy (health, housing and benefits advice) who will shadow the highly experienced project leader, My Diep, on how to deliver this support in a professional and culturally-sensitive manner. This is an invaluable opportunity to gain both work and life skills, as it combines learning new skills whilst contributing to community life. If you would like to know more about, or would like to become a volunteer Peer Supporter, please contact My Diep (details below).

Focus Group and Project Report

On completion of the project, WHFS will compile a report on how volunteering is viewed in these communities and how it can be encouraged, as well as what benefits and opportunities can be gained for younger people through participation in community projects. We will be holding a series of focus groups with Chinese and Vietnamese people to identify and discuss:

  • What motivates younger people to volunteer to help their communities and how their interest can be sustained;
  • The value volunteering brings to their communities;
  • How volunteers can support elders to stay healthy;
  • How these younger members can improve their economic and social development through volunteering;
  • Has the younger generation “lost touch” with their cultural roots – are they necessarily the right people to help their communities, and can volunteering help them to rediscover their history?

Please see the Events page for details on forthcoming Focus Group meetings, or contact My Diep for an informal chat on how you can get involved.

At the end of the project, WHFS will have:

  • Trained 8 members of the Chinese and Vietnamese communities as volunteer Peer Supporters;
  • Developed greater awareness in these communities of WHFS’s advocacy service and the support available from Peer Supporters;
  • Provided advocacy with the aim of improving health and wellbeing;
  • Produced an evaluation of the project, to include its impact, recommendations and model for sustainability.


For further information, please contact:

Tuyet My Diep - Project Co-ordinator
M: 07496 704 885
T: 020 7377 9654
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Further information

Please click here for information on our current projects.

Statistics - Chinese & Vietnamese Populations in Tower Hamlets

  • According to the 2011 Census, the Chinese population in Tower Hamlets has grown significantly since the 2001 Census (127% growth, accounting for 3.2% of the population);
  • The Vietnamese population is not specified and are captured under the “Other Asian” groups (recorded as 2% of the population);
  • Please click here to download the Ethnicity in Tower Hamlets Analysis of 2011 Census Data for further information.

Features staff and volunteers at the Chinese and Vietnamese Focus Group in May 2016