#HeroesOfLondon is shining a light on the humans behind our small charities and the amazing – and vital – work they do in London's communities, during the cost-of-living crisis and every day. We spent the last month meeting just some of these local heroes. The stories you are reading are direct transcripts from our chats with them.
Meet My from Lambeth Elderly Association from Vietnam.
Many of them have lived on the margins of London society, being isolated and unable to communicate with mainstream service providers.
Here at Lambeth Elderly Association from Vietnam, we organise a lot of activities including tea dancing, karaoke, food sharing and meets ups, mainly for older Vietnamese and Chinese-Vietnamese former refugees, most of whom have long-term health conditions. Most of them fled North Vietnam following the flare-up of tensions between Vietnam's Communist regime and China in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Partly due to language and cultural barriers and partly due to their inexperience working in a modern industrial economy, many were not able to make a successful transition to life in Britain, with a large proportion finding themselves unemployed for long periods or only able to take on menial work. Consequently, many of them have lived on the margins of London society, being isolated and unable to communicate with mainstream service providers. The majority now live with long term health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart, respiratory and neurological illnesses.
We meet twice a week in Stockwell for our Good Moves, Tea Dancing and Food Sharing sessions. The Good Moves programme is designed to cater for the need among ethnic minority people with long term health conditions for culturally appropriate, community-led guidance on health and wellbeing self-management.
We have weekly sessions focused on developing knowledge and practical skills relating to healthy eating, portion size and gentle exercise. This is particularly helpful for those who are isolated and experiencing poor wellbeing due to their long-term conditions. This can influence their ability or confidence to navigate the outside world, particularly as they are fearful to leave the house due to their language skills. This can then them overly dependent on busy family members, eventually making them feel disempowered.
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