The Care and Share Movement was launched to spur donations and volunteerism in the lead-up to Singapore’s 50th birthday celebrations this year. Eligible donations raised by charities from December 2013 till the end of last year will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Government from a $250 million kitty. As of last October, 130 charities have benefited. Priscilla Goy looks at how three charities plan to use the extra money.
Breakthrough Missions, a Christian drug-rehabilitation halfway house, wants to set up a central kitchen in which former drug offenders can pick up job skills. This will help them gain employment when they leave, and hopefully keep them from reoffending.
The charity’s deputy director, Mr Freddy Wee, said: “We want to enter the food and beverage industry, and expand our business to probably offer catering as well.”
It runs the Breakthrough Cafe in People’s Park Centre, but the cafe offers mainly small snacks and food from external suppliers, he said.
For its planned central kitchen, it is looking for a site that already has an existing one, which it can refurbish without building from scratch. The charity raised about $950,000 for the kitchen last year, and has received $138,000 under the Care and Share Movement so far.
Mr Wee said the extra funds will give it more options when sourcing for locations for the kitchen, send more staff for training or cover other operating costs.
The kitchen will not be at the charity’s location in Pasir Panjang as it is allowed to build only facilities for rehabilitation purposes there.
Breakthrough Missions, set up in 1983 by former drug addicts, runs a free 18-month residential rehabilitation programme for drug addicts and former offenders.
It also operates other social enterprises, including a bookstore and a furniture store.
365 CANCER PREVENTION SOCIETY
A new day activity centre for cancer patients and caregivers will be set up later this year by the 365 Cancer Prevention Society, which has already received a matching grant of about $71,000 from the Government, under the Care and Share Movement.
Having raised more than $1 million last year, its executive director, Mr Ben Chua, said he expects the charity to get even more from the movement, as the Government disburses the matching grants in phases.
The funds will help pay for its first day activity centre, which is expected to cost about $2.5 million. Its location has not been decided yet.
Healthy meals will be provided at the centre, which will also serve as a one-stop site for cancer patients to get information, meet other patients in support groups, and take part in recreational activities.
“The funds will also be used to enhance our other facilities, send our staff for training, and upgrade our IT systems,” added Mr Chua.
The charity was set up in 2003 by cancer survivor and former DJ Billy Wang, also known as Dongfang Billy. It has helped more than 500 cancer patients so far.
With an extra $300,000 in its coffers, thanks to the Care and Share Movement, Boys’ Town plans to give its at-risk youths a chance to learn through “adventure therapy”.
It is building an obstacle course that includes abseiling, bouldering and rock climbing, and is expected to be ready by the middle of this year.
Executive director Irene Loi said: “Adventure therapy will help youths in coping with adversity, building resilience and promoting effective psychological and social development.”
This complements its sports for character programme, which uses sporting activities to teach youths to overcome obstacles and become more confident.
The charity, established in 1948, provides residential care for young people aged 10 to 21 who come mainly from troubled, single-parent and financially needy families.
Boys’ Town intends to set up the obstacle course within its campus in Upper Bukit Timah. Other social service organisations and schools are welcome to use it when it is ready, it said.
It has received a matching grant of $300,000 from the Government, under the Care and Share Movement. This will be used to cover costs of building the obstacle course.
Mrs Loi said: “We are grateful for the matching grant, which comes in very timely to partially fund new and exciting programmes like these.”
Source: The Straits Times