The Wai Yin Society was started in October 1988 by a group of community-minded and dedicated Chinese women who felt that the views and needs of Chinese women were not being represented, and that women were discriminated against, both by British society and their own community and families.
This discrimination has been present throughout Chinese history as traditionally Chinese women have been regarded as inferior members of their families. Many were deprived of an education and, as a result, their main duties were restricted to bearing and raising children.
Having identified these inequalities and needs, the Wai Yin Society was constituted in December 1988.
Initially the Society was mainly concerned with helping Chinese women who had suffered domestic violence and the breakdown of family life by offering practical, social and emotional support. Health education and health promotion were also high on the agenda.
Since 1997, the organisation grows year by year. In 1997, its services have been extended to meeting the needs of the Chinese elderly and their families, which includes children and Chinese youth. From 1999 the Society has expanded once more to meet growing demands and now runs projects based at the Centre for Chinese women, elderly, adult education, employment service, youth, children and those with mental health needs. In 2002 the Centre became an approved UK Online Learning Centre. Wai Yin has also been assessed and granted Investor in People quality mark in this year.
Gradually and naturally, Wai Yin’s services have reached out and delivered to not only Chinese community, but also other BME (Black Minority Ethnic) communities. In 2006, Wai Yin successfully received funding from the Learning and Skills Council as well as Job Centre Plus, leading by Wai Yin and in partnership with 3 other BME organisations, the services have benefited the Asian community in the Greater Manchester area. In 2008, Wai Yin successfully applied funding from the PCT to develop the SEVA project. The SEVA project was another partnership project to provide mental health support to Pakistan, Afro-Caribbean, and white minority communities. In this year, Wai Yin was successfully granted the Matrix quality mark. Wai Yin’s yearly turnover also reached £1.2 million for the first time. At that time, about 80% of Wai Yin’s income was from public funds, e.g, local authorities, and health authorities.
As a result of the expansion of services, the demand for space in Wai Yin consequently increased. In 2010, Wai Yin proudly purchased its own premises in the City Centre area of Manchester. Our services are now delivered in three different premises:
- Wai Yin moved into our own premises in July 2010 as Wai Yin’s Head Office. It is located at 66 – 68 Swan Street, Manchester. In 2018, it was re-named the “Dr Sylvia Sham Centre” in memory of our former CEO.
- The Welcome Centre, in Cheetham Hill, where we also provide a lot of our Education, Training and Employment support to the community.
- Sheung Lok Elderly Luncheon Club based in Ardwick to provide health and social care to Elderly and people with mental health support needs.