ComChest aims to raise record $72.3m

Community Chest Fund-Raising Launch 2012 on May 3, 2012. (Photo: NCSS)

The Community Chest aims to raise a record $72.3 million in the current financial year.

It plans to use the 30 percent increase in funds to better help families, youths-at-risk and the disabled.

Despite being diagnosed with mild intellectual disability, 21-year-old Ong Kian Peng successfully completed his vocational training in the food and beverage industry.

He earned the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications Certificate in Food and Beverage Service.

Kian Peng has been working as a service crew at a fast-food outlet for more than a year. And his good performance has landed him a permanent job with the company.

“I can meet new friends, and I can learn new skills, and I can earn a lot of salary,” he said.

ComChest aims to reach out to more people like Kian Peng by increasing its fund-raising target by $16.6 million.

The money will help 82 voluntary welfare organisations provide 219 social service programmes that will benefit over 300,000 people.

The newly-funded programmes will meet service gaps and cater to a growing demand for services.

More than half of the funds will go towards helping children with special needs. These include setting up three centres for the Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children.

Jennie Chua, Chairman of Community Chest, said: “If children are born with special needs and you intervene and have programmes to intervene early, it will be effective. And in fact you do save a lot of money later on.) So if you have got the evidence that this is good for children with special needs, you need to put more money there.”

Funds will be disbursed to enhance curriculum and increase enrolment at special education schools, as well as to serve 500 more adults with disabilities and their families.

Abhimanyau, Society for the Physically Disabled, said: “Every single dollar that we raised or get government fund, we are trying to allocate 80 percent directly to the children. That means 80 percent will be used for service provision, 20 percent for administrative work.

ComChest will also co-fund the STEP-UP programme (Enhanced ‘School Social Work to Empower Pupils to Utilise Their Potential’) together with the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

It aims to support youths-at-risk in completing their education.

The funds will also be used to build three more family service centres to serve 600 more families.

This article was first published in CNA