Updated: Friday, 23rd August 2019 @ 11:02am

Chinese officials visit Stockport for advice from councillors on social welfare

Chinese officials visit Stockport for advice from councillors on social welfare

By Katie Rowley

Twenty-one senior Chinese officials were welcomed into Stockport last week, as they sought inspiration from local Councillors.

They are participating in a six month training programme at Manchester University’s Business School, learning about the running of social welfare systems. Stockport Councillors gave a lesson in how they deal with matters of social security, local government, the NHS, public housing and health.

As part of the programme, the Chinese guests visited the Council offices before looking around Stockport Market, paying a visit to a local pub, and touring the Town Hall where the Mayor’s Chair in the Council Chamber proved popular.

Councillor John Pantall, Executive Member for Adults & Health, said: “Stockport’s contribution to the training programme was well received and appreciated. I’m grateful to those Council officers who gave up their time to explain how our systems work. 

“Who knows, Stockport may influence in some small way the future design of the Chinese welfare state.”

At the end of their training programme, the delegates will produce an audit of UK social welfare to inform and share best practice with colleagues in China.

Manchester is home to the UK’s second largest Chinatown and fostering better relations with the extensive Chinese community is a matter of cultural importance for the city. The Manchester Chinese Centre plays a large role in helping this integration.

Andrea McDermott from the centre spoke to Mancunian Matters, highlighting their Youth Ambassador programme as an example of this educational cultural exchange. “We arrange placements for volunteers to spend two weeks in China over the summer,” she said.

“They help teach English and also promote the city of Manchester – volunteers run workshops, have fish and chip evenings, show the kids how to make an English cup of tea!”

In 2009, 22 volunteers travelled out to China as part of the exchange and in return a group of Chinese students came to visit Manchester.

Ms McDermott said: “I believe it’s very important for our ambassadors to be proud to talk about not only their Chinese heritage but their Manchester culture too. We’re all proud Mancunians!”