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History & Milestones: 


Since its opening in 1983, the organization has remained the only ethnic Vietnamese agency delivering direct services to the Vietnamese community in East London. About 2,000 people from Vietnam were settling down in Tower Hamlets, and even more in neighboring boroughs. These individuals needed support for their new life in the U.K. With assistance from the Refugee Action organization, the management team was recruited to run the community. Additionally, the British Refugee Council (previously named British Council for Aid to Refugees – BCAR) helped seek funding and provided training staff members to resettle these refugees

Here are our milestones.

1979: 10,000 refugees from Vietnam sought resettlement. The British Council for Aid to Refugees took charge of resettling 5,619 out of the total, which exceeded 10,000 refugees from Vietnam and Southeast Asia. They collaborated with Save the Children, Aid to European Refugees, and other agencies.

1983:   The Community of Refugees from Vietnam was set up as an organisation to carry on the resettlement work, initially as a self-help group offering advice and counseling. 

1983-1989:   Our first office and luncheon club was located at St. Margaret's House, 21 Old Ford Road - London E2 9PL. The following projects began: 

  • Elderly project catering for isolated Vietnamese elders ;

  • Youth projects (both cultural and educational);

  • Employment training project;

  • Advice/Information

  • Day trips and outings

  • Newsletters

  • Mother Tongue Classes

  • Summer project for young people

1985:  Luncheon club launched.

​1986:  Vietnamese mother tongue school opened every Sunday morning from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. at George Green's School London E14 3DW

1990-1993: CRV East London moved to Poplar Methodist Church - East India Dock Road - E14 6DE.  Further development of all the projects; including emotional support and counseling, increased holiday schemes and day trips, and service brokerage. 


The following developmental services were initiated 


-Youth club;

-Translation and interpreting;

-Services for Vietnamese women.

-ESOL classes

Full elderly luncheon club two-day services per week (games, radio broadcasts, visits from health professionals, library of books, video and audio tapes, and magazines) were in place. 

- Advice works grew for the fourth year in a row.

- The look of the newsletters improved because of better publicity software and printing equipment, although circulation remains at 150 per quarter due to lack of funds.

1995: One-week trip organised to European countries every summer and cultural activity continued with 4 events organised per year

1998: The Home School Liaison project began to facilitate better communication between parents and the school.


- Mr Cuong Ngoc Dam: CRV East London's Co-founder and committee member passed away at the age of 60. 

- Mr. Ton Thinh Luong - CRV east London's Co-founder and first Chairman resigned after 15 years in the role, replaced by Mr. Quoc Bao Nguyen 

- Vietnamese Mother Tongue school moved to St Matthias Community Centre - Poplar E14 

2000:  The Quality of Life Study Project on Vietnamese elders began. Ten elderly individuals participated in interviews to discuss their life experiences in Vietnam and how they integrated into British life, producing a videotape

There was a 30% increase in participation in the luncheon club. 

Domiciliary care services began to be provided to residents from Vietnam in Tower Hamlets. We had four clients.

2001: Quality of life report completed. 

2002: The three-year service agreement contract for the Older People Over 65 project has commenced

         Mr. Van Than Bui, the Co-founder and first Treasurer of CRV East London, passed away at the age of 57.

         Mrs. Nhung Bui, the Co-founder and first Coordinator of CRV East London, passed away at the age of 62.


2004: Mr. Quoc Bao Nguyen stepped down from his chairman role due to health reasons, and  CRV East London board appointed Mr Jack Shei to the board as Chairman.


- The AQS was awarded to CRV East London on legal issues and we continued to renew it every two years.  

-  Vietnamese Mother Tongue school moved to Poplar Methodist Church London E14 

2005 - 2010: We reached 100 hours of care per week for the Home care service. 

2006  Vietnamese Mother Tongue school moved to Aberfeldy Centre, London E14 0NU

2006: Mr Quoc Bao Nguyen - second CRV east London passed away at the age of 57. 

2006The Poplar Methodist Church was for sale, so we relocated our luncheon club and office to the Dockland Settlement Centre. The number of luncheon club attendees increased to 80 people during the summer months

2007: Vietnamese Summer Festival - All Vietnamese community managements organized the summer festival to celebrate 25 years of Vietnamese communities in the U.K. Four thousand Vietnamese people participated in this event at Peckham Park

In 2009, the Tower Hamlets local authority initiated a new grant program called the Mainstream grant. Paper grant applications were discontinued, and all organizations were required to submit their applications online. It was a three-year grant program. We applied for the following projects: 


  •  Luncheon club 

  •  Home school liasion 

Our Women's project, Summer Project, and Youth Club project were terminated due to a low number of participants and a lack of staff members  

The Great Recession began in the U.K., and it would affect our government funding.


2011: The block and spot contracts for home-care services had been discontinued in Tower Hamlets. The local authority put these contracts out to tender. The voluntary providers group needed to form a consortium with three home care organizations: St. Hilda's, CRV East London, and Tower Hamlets Chinese Association. We secured a tender contract for 3 years


Mr. Quoc Cuong Tran, CRV East London's first Vice Chairman, passed away at the age of 81.

2012: The Dockland Settlement decided to sell their building at East Ferry Road, E14. We had to relocate our Luncheon Club to St. Nicolas Church in Poplar, London E14, and our office to the Old Poplar Library at 45 Gillender Street, London E14 6RN.

We renewed our Mainstream grants. Due to significant economic challenges during the great recession, the funding amount had been reduced by about 40%


2013 : The Older People Project service agreement changed to a tender contract. We won the bid for the Older People Project, which ran for three years and was later extended for one more year.


2014 :  Mr. Van Tu Lam, the first Vice Chairman of CRV East London, passed away at the age of 85 

2014: We launched the first CRV East London website, funded by the Lottery (Award for All). Additionally, we purchased a new photocopier for publicity purposes.

We had to reapply for the Luncheon Club Mainstream grant for the period 2014-2017. However, the Homeschool Liaison Project came to an end.

2016 : There was heavy rain in June, and as our office is located in the basement, it led to flooding that damaged all our equipment, including computers, photocopiers, chairs, and tables

2018 : The three-year Older People Project had finished. We had to bid for the new Older People Project, and we secured it for an additional three years, spanning from 2018 to 2021.

Additionally, we established the Welfare Reform Project, funded by the East End Foundation.

2019 :  The Mainstream grants came to a close on September 30th. Our home care consortium dissolved as St. Hilda’s failed to secure additional contracts. With insufficient capacity to take on home care contracts from Tower Hamlet Council, we relinquished our position as a commissioner, transitioning to a non-commissioner status for home care services.

- Inspection by the Care Quality Commission for our Domiciliary Care Service resulted in a rating of 'GOOD' being awarded to CRV EAST LONDON - Homecare Service

- Food Hygiene Rating : GOOD - 5 Star 

- During this period, we also mourned the passing of Mr. Ton Thinh Luong, the esteemed first Chairman of CRV East London, who left us at the age of 90.

We collaborated with Tower Hamlets Health Watch to gather thoughts from the Chinese and Vietnamese communities regarding their access to and feedback on health and social care services. It was the largest event yet, with 90 local participants. 

2019 – 2023: The Local Community Fund contract with Tower Hamlets Council replaced a mainstream grant, commencing from October 1st and extending until October 31, 2023. We were awarded funding for this contract, covering the Luncheon Club and elderly activities. The annual funding amounted to £34,728.

2020 :   In February 2020, we relocated our luncheon club and elderly activities to the new hall of Dockland Settlement in Isle of Dogs. However, after 5 weeks, we had to close our day centre due to the Covid-19 pandemic, starting from April 1, 2020 


- From April 1, 2020: Face-to-face advice suspended due to Covid-19.

  1. We established telephone advice and befriending services.

  2. Older people and internet usage during the pandemic.

  3. Referred individuals facing difficulties to the Foodbank service.

  4. Shopping service for older people.

  5. Applied online for welfare benefits.

  6. CRV East London Home Care Service operated as normal

  We received two emergency COVID-19 grants from the Lottery and the East End Foundation. Each funder awarded us £10,000


2021: The Vietnamese mother tongue school closed after 34 years because the Tower Hamlets Mayor decided to close the Community Language Service department.

- The Tower Hamlets Council decided to terminate the Older People Support project from March 31, 2021. - - - We will need to seek funding from independent sources to continue this service.

- We reopened our day center at Dockland Settlement on July 19, 2021. An average of 35 participants attended our activities every Monday and Friday.

​- Our first outing trip with 40 participants to Margate after 1.5 years of lockdown.

- We participated to Fifty Years of Bangladesh Independence celebrated in Tower Hamlets. 

​2022 : Redesigned the CRV EAST LONDON website.

- Initiated Meditation and Yoga classes with 10 participants every week. This project was awarded for a year by the Lottery Award for All. 

- All Points East Festival at Victoria Park - Our Performance was Vietnamese palm-leaf conical hats  

2023: The Local Community Fund contract has been extended until October 31, 2023. The Tower Hamlets new grants application was launched in May 2023. It is called the Mayor's Grants Programme. We were successful in obtaining two grant programs for the period 2023-2027: an Elderly Luncheon Club with health activities and Older People Support for those over 55.  


We started to work together with Create London to develop a series of artistic and social activities through 2023 and into future to help the community thrive. 





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