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First support service centre for ethnic minorities commences operation

     One of the four support service centres for ethnic minorities, operated under the funding grant of the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau (CMAB), commences operation today (May 31).

     The centre, located in Wanchai, is operated by International Social Service – Hong Kong Branch.

     The centre provides support services to ethnic minorities with a view to facilitating their integration into the community. It will offer English and Cantonese language programmes, computer classes, orientation seminars, interest classes, counselling and social activities. It will also provide other services to facilitate the access to public services by ethnic minorities, including sight translation, internet access, as well as distribution of multilingual service guidebooks and information leaflets such as those on human swine flu.

     The centre is located at the 3rd floor, East Wing, Sincere Insurance Building, 4-6 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. It operates seven days a week except for public holidays. The operating hours are from 9am to 9pm, except for Mondays on which the operating hours are 2pm to 6pm.

     The CMAB has earlier granted funds for four non-governmental organisations to establish and operate four support service centres for ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. The funding grant involves a total of up to $16 million annually as the operating expenses for the four centres for two years, and a total of up to $8 million as one-off start-up costs.

     The other three centres, which will be operated by Hong Kong Christian Service, Christian Action and the Yuen Long Town Hall Management Committee respectively, are expected to commence their services in the coming months.  The one operated by  Hong Kong Christian  Service  will  also  provide centralised telephone interpretation service to assist ethnic minorities in their use of public services.

Ends/Sunday, May 31, 2009