Relationship-building is important for Alpha for ESOL. There are some things that are helpful to do before you start running a course.
Think about whether there are any particular needs in the community. Here are two suggestions that help to build friendships in the run up to your course:
In small groups of three to four, have one native English speaker act as a host. Dialogue with guests about practical topics such as "greetings" and "travelling".
Celebrating cultural events makes people feel appreciated and understood. Think about using events such as Chinese New Year as an Alpha for ESOL launch party.
Over time, you should find that friendships and trust grow. Having done one or both of the above, you are in a great position to invite people onto an Alpha for ESOL course.