Happy Panda (快乐熊猫)

Happy Panda brings together older Chinese men who have worked in the catering industry—physically demanding jobs during unsociable hours—leading to many being isolated, especially if English is a challenge. Cooking together and singing in English, which has been shown as a good language improvement technique, builds confidence and helps form better social connections too.

In the 1960s, many Chinese men emigrated to Leeds and then worked in the catering industry all their lives. These jobs were physically demanding and took place over unsociable hours, leading to many being isolated and lacking confidence to socialise. Learning English can be particularly difficult for Cantonese speakers, even more so if there is not the time or resource available. 

Happy Panda wants to bring together men with this similar history--trained chefs who may not be confident in cooking a simple meal for themselves, who would like to learn more English and would like to form stronger friendship connections. 

Through the use of singing in English, which has been shown to be a good way to improve language skills, and cooking and eating together Happy Panda will provide an environment for isolated men to feel comfortable and gain confidence in new or rusty skills. The group will meet weekly in Leeds City Centre (exact venue TBD). 

Anyone who would like to get involved, either as a participant or a volunteer, should get in touch via the contact details to the right. 

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