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TODAY: New S$528,000 fund to help disadvantaged people stay employed
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TODAY: New S$528,000 fund to help disadvantaged people stay employed

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By Ng Jun Sen

SINGAPORE — When stereotypes, stigmas and prejudices prevent people with disabilities or mental health problems from finding jobs, they are often financially or socially disadvantaged for life.

To overcome these barriers, a new fund was launched on Thursday (May 23) to address the problem of social exclusion of disadvantaged groups here, bringing employment and vocational training support to where it is needed most.

The Learning Initiatives for Employment — Community Impact Fund programme is run by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), with the aim of equipping participants with skills, and helping them find jobs and stay employed.

It will target four marginalised groups, namely:

People with disabilities
People recovering from mental illnesses
Disadvantaged women
Youth-at-risk

Ms Joyce Teo, CFS’ deputy chief executive, said: “We hope to pilot new pathways to help the vulnerable make a living, improve their self-esteem and become more involved in society.”

WHAT THE FUND WILL DO
The fund will help participants undergo an average of 140 hours of vocational training and another 60 hours of job matching, job placement and on-the-job coaching support.

CFS targets around 65 per cent of participants to graduate from its training. Out of these graduates, 60 per cent are expected to be placed into jobs for at least three months.

During the training phase, charitable organisations partnering CFS will help these participants minimise or resolve family issues which could derail their training.

Participants seeking kitchen and service jobs will be trained by social enterprise Project Dignity, while Bettr Barista — a coffee academy — will coach aspiring baristas. Both organisations will also provide job attachment opportunities.

In the future, more industries could get involved in the scheme.

The scheme targets an initial 90 participants who will first be identified and referred by Institute of a Public Character charities. Their attitude, aptitude and employment potential will determine whether they qualify for the scheme.

Where possible, the programme will continue to track the participants for up to two years.

HOW IT IS FUNDED
Around S$528,000 is needed to support the scheme. All funding will come from donations and an anchor donor has been secured.

Potential donors can visit Giving.sg or write to CFS at contactus@cf.org.sg. Read more.

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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Stories Of Impact

Apex Harmony Lodge – Empowering dementia patients to live well

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John Doe
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Is dementia an inevitable part of ageing? Can nothing can be done to change its course?

Dementia patients are oft-times negatively perceived as ‘senile’ or ‘confused’, with little measures taken to empower patients to maintain an active mind. If their symptoms are ‘generalised’, this may lead to care that negates the patient’s individualised needs.

As Singapore’s first purpose-built lodge for dementia patients, Apex Harmony Lodge (AHL) views each patient as someone who is ‘beyond their condition’, and who can be empowered to live with dignity and well-being, explains Mahathir Rahim, former Community Engagement Executive at AHL.

Informed by the latest medical research as well as Person-Centred-Care (PCC) models of dementia care, each resident at AHL receives an individualised care plan, recognising their specific stage of dementia, background and personal interests.

This approach is especially relevant for patients with mild to moderate dementia, who comprise almost 70% of AHL’s 180 residents. For around 60 patients who are still mobile, they exhibit greater psychosocial needs, including maintaining identity, autonomy and socialisation.

Forming a key part of AHL’s care plan is a curated programme of activities that not only keeps patients engaged and happy, but also helps maintain brain plasticity for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, a key finding in recent neuroscience research.

Tapping into two donor funds via the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), AHL has been able to scale its programmes to benefit more residents and sustain engagement levels in recent years. The funding has also helped AHL diversify its programmes to cater to the niche needs of its residents.

Take for instance AHL’s ‘Ignite My Life’ programme: its variety of recreational and learning activities are tailored to the abilities and interests of residents, enabling them to live well. This includes equine-assisted therapy, where residents who display an affinity for animals get to interact with rescued horses. The initiative has benefited more than 20 residents so far, who delight in bonding with the horses. For residents who enjoy cooking, a baking programme enables them to take part in monthly sessions, whipping up a spread shared with fellow residents. This helps to boost their self esteem as they learn to create something on their own and share their successes with others.

AHL has also tapped into CFS’s Outing for Seniors Community Impact Fund to expand its number of outings to local museums, Gardens by the Bay and even on Duck Tours, greatly benefiting a pool of residents who are immobile. Such outings often require significant manpower, with each resident assisted by one volunteer or staff. Getting funding support has helped AHL to manage the significant transportation and food costs incurred, thereby bringing outings to more of its residents.

AHL’s efforts to offer personalised programmes for dementia patients has been recognised by not just the residents, but also their families. “The families are very impressed by the unique programmes we provide, especially for patients who aren’t able to move on their own,” expresses Mahathir.

Bryan Lim, AHL’s current Community Engagement Executive, adds, “At the end of the day, it’s about honouring the human being and helping retain one’s dignity. Instead of telling a patient what he can or cannot do, we give them a chance to explore their capabilities.”

Photos: Apex Harmony Lodge
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News

Including the Excluded: Everyone Plays a Part

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John Doe
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Through working and volunteering in the non-profit sector, I often meet people living in dire circumstances. I vividly remember one incident while distributing breakfast to families living in public rental units. Speaking in simple English, the mother thanked us profusely for the warm porridge and noodles – generously contributed by a donor – so the money saved could go towards their monthly transport.

Giving goes a long way. But recognising and acknowledging the realities of those in need may be just as important.

Speaking after the association’s annual general meeting at Kallang Netball Centre on Friday, Liang-Lin, a fund manager for a US$7 billion (S$9.5 billion) firm focused on green real estate investments in Asia, hopes to bring her expertise to the table and increase the amount of financial support for Singapore netball during her four-year term.

Look around the world and it is not hard to see how the unmet needs of marginalised groups can lead to tension and ruptures in the social fabric. In Singapore, social exclusion and by default, inclusion, has become a hot subject – not the least because of our incredibly diverse society, aging population and the widening inequality.

Responding to these challenges require us to think more deeply and tangibly about the ways we respond to the disenfranchised. I believe developing empathy and simply taking time to understand the challenges of others, will play a critical first step.

I was encouraged to see in a 2016 study of Singaporeans’ attitudes towards social inclusion, that many saw the importance of ‘celebrating diversity’ and making a greater effort to understand vulnerable groups; be it the disabled, the mentally ill, migrant workers or disadvantaged households. The message is clear: we all play a part in making Singapore more inclusive.

At the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), it is our mission to identify underserved needs – and then empower donors to give meaningfully to meet them. In this issue of Change Matters, I’m happy to share several developments that will enable you to contribute to a wide range of social causes.

You might have seen the recent news about the launch of the LIFT (Learning Initiatives for Employment) Community Impact Fund. LIFT supports programmes that provide vocational training, social support and suitable job placements in the open market for disadvantaged persons.  Through LIFT, you’ll be able to help people with disabilities, persons recovering from mental illnesses, disadvantaged women and youth-at-risk to make a better life.

We also highlight the incredible dedication of HOME (or the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics). Amidst the challenges, HOME has steadfastly championed the well-being of migrant workers in Singapore over the last decade. Learn about how your support to CFS’s Migrants Emergency Assistance and Support (MEANS) Fund helps HOME provide vital financial assistance in a migrant worker’s time of crisis.

With your continued support, I believe we can help to foster a sense of belonging and empathy towards those who have less, enabling them greater opportunities to participate meaningfully in our society.

Joseph Lua

Assistant Director

Community Foundation of Singapore

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

Picture of admin bluecube
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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Stories Of Impact

The Funding Network (TFN)

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John Doe
Bright moon illuminating serene city park.

The Funding Network (TFN) is an innovative, inspiring and rewarding way for donors to make a real, positive difference to the community. The programme offers charitable organisations the opportunity to pitch their cause to a group or corporation to secure crowdfunding and mentoring as well as expand their donor base and network. TFN makes it possible for individuals, foundations and corporations to give collectively in increments starting from S$50, with an aim to raise at least S$10,000 for the non-profit. Here are some projects TFN successfully supported:

  • GoLi – The Moving Theatre

GoLi is a travelling theatre that goes around Singapore transforming community spaces into vibrant places for arts and culture. In 2014, the group secured funding from The Funding Network and other sponsors to kickstart the design and construction of an inflatable pop-up theatre. After a technical trial conducted in November 2014 to test its robustness, GoLi embarked on designing a second structure with a larger and more flexible capacity. The inflatable theatre finally made its official debut outside Toa Payoh Community Library at the Singapore International Festival of Arts in July 2015. 

  • Groceries With Love on Wheels (GLOW)

The National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) initiated Groceries With Love on Wheels in 2010 to deliver basic necessities to low-income and house-bound residents. On 7 June 2014, more than 550 volunteers distributed grocery bags to 3,000 needy recipients identified by People’s Association.

  • Lunch treats for the elderly

Dignity Kitchen takes the elderly and needy out for meaningful city tours and meals. The tours bring them to places of interest and nostalgia complete with a special lunch prepared by Dignity Kitchen. In April 2014, the social enterprise secured funding through TFN which enabled them to work with 18 eldercare centres and nursing homes to bring some 708 seniors out for a treat. 

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit dolor

The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

Picture of admin bluecube
admin bluecube

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Opinion

Four ways to give back through the arts

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John Doe
a group of people in a room with a stage and a group of people in chairs

To put things into perspective: giving to the arts means more than just supporting a company’s artistic endeavours – support for the arts helps build a more inclusive society and brings benefits to the community in many ways.

Many of Singapore’s artists, art companies and institutions are passionate about social causes, and make it part of their mission to give back through the work they do. These efforts often go beyond cultivating art appreciation, to include efforts to reach out to the less privileged, nurture the young and bring the joy of the arts to a wider audience.

To help navigate the dynamic field of the arts, we have identified key areas in which the arts is making strides within the local community:

Arts education
An arts education is considered vital in helping children develop creativity and imagination – key skills to thrive in the future economy. These efforts can be bolstered by supporting spaces for early arts exposure, such as the Keppel Centre for Art Education at the National Gallery Singapore, or access to dedicated arts training and programmes as exemplified by The Rice CompanyArt Outreach Singapore and Playeum.

Alongside their artistic season, many local arts companies have also developed outreach programmes for children and youths, including Singapore Repertory TheatreThe Necessary StageOdyssey Dance TheatreThe Fingers PlayersThe Theatre PracticeTheatreWorks and Temenggong Artists-In-Residence.

Active aging
Empowering our seniors to lead meaningful, active lives is a priority for Singapore, and the arts can play a significant role. Events such as the National Arts Council’s Silver Arts Festival have demonstrated how the arts offer seniors a safe space to try new activities, and also a platform to engage their minds through enjoying a performance or work of art, as exemplified by Beautiful Mind Charity which runs free concerts at various elderly homes. The Singapore Chinese Orchestra plays to patients and healthcare workers in hospitals and care centres through its ‘Caring Series’ to provide the healing touch through music.

Others like contemporary dance outfit The Arts Fission Company have channelled art towards practical benefits. The company runs Everyday Waltzes for Active Aging, a programme which utilises movement to help the elderly maintain strong core muscles and reduce their risk of falling.

Mental health
In some instances, the arts contributes to the mental health of different segments of our society by helping to recognise and bring deep issues to light. Take for instance theatre company Drama Box, which develops theatrical work mirroring our social fabric. The company has worked with many marginalised and underserved groups, including migrant workers, out-of-school youths and the elderly, and continues to use theatre to explore important social issues from mental health, dying, resilience and identity.

Special needs
The arts celebrates the value of every human being, making it a natural fit when it comes to engaging individuals with special needs and disabilities. Superhero Me, a ground-up inclusive arts movement turned charity, has been championing the power of art to bring joy and empowerment to children from needy families and those with special needs.

Arts companies can also use their expertise to give back. Contemporary dance company RAW Moves runs A Little RAW, an inclusive children’s dance company bringing dance to children with special needs, while Beautiful Mind Charity has been offering free professional music education to children with disabilities since 2014.

Photo: National Arts Council

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