In the autumn of 1988, at the inaugural meeting of the National Federation of Chinese Women in Birmingham, four young Bristol women came up with the idea of establishing an organisation to support the needs of local Chinese women and their families. After a consultation meeting with local Chinese women early in 1989, and under the auspices of the Overseas Chinese Association, a successful application for funding was made to Bristol City Council. The Bristol Chinese Women's Group was born shortly afterwards. In 1992 the Group's success attracted funding from the old Avon County Council and the Group changed its name to the Bristol and Avon Chinese Women's Group.
Twenty-four years on, the world is very different to how it was in 1989. Patterns of migration from China to the UK have changed, as has China's place in the world. The challenges facing organisations in the voluntary sector are as acute as ever while the way in which public services (particularly across health and social care) are commissioned and delivered is changing, becoming more bespoke and targeted at reducing inequality.
The main thrust of the Group's work has always been to break down the isolation experienced by Chinese women and their families, supporting them to overcome language and cultural barriers and access services. The Group has worked hard at this and developed a good reputation both among statutory partners and the Chinese community.