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5 Critical gaps in caring for vulnerable seniors in Singapore
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Opinion

5 Critical gaps in caring for vulnerable seniors in Singapore

John Doe
John Doe
two young people helping an elderly

Singapore is fast reaching superaged status. Life expectancy is going up while the birth rate is heading south. By 2030 – not many years from where we are today – one in four Singaporeans will be 65 years or older. More worryingly, a fifth of that cohort will be over 80. (Population in Brief 2021) 

Ageing well and quality of life are huge concerns for our elderly. The biggest challenges centre on health: physical frailty or disability, sensory impairment such as hearing loss, or chronic conditions such as dementia or diabetes. However, ageing is not just a matter of biophysical health. It is also about bolstering psychological, emotional and community support. 

Moreover, mental wellness issues, such as depression and loneliness, are a real threat to the older demographic. The COVID-19 pandemic which began in early 2020 has sharply worsened the situation. On top of this, many older Singaporeans worry about financial security, due to escalating care costs, inadequate retirement income and limited earning opportunities. 

Many people prefer to age at home but that too has its challenges. In this article, we highlight the critical gaps in caring for vulnerable seniors and what can be done to support them so that ageing can be enabling, empowering and meaningful.

#1 Funding rising healthcare needs

Singapore’s healthcare expenses could jump tenfold between 2016 and 2030 to over $66 billion1. Family is typically the first line of support but families are getting smaller and relationships may be estranged. Income caps also mean not everyone qualifies for government aid. 

Even when fees are subsidized, low-income seniors may struggle with costs. Women, in particular, face more financial insecurity as they tend to have interrupted employment or be in low-wage or unpaid care work. Women also tend to outlive men and are more likely to be single, widowed or divorced in old age. 

The burden lands on welfare organisations to meet the shortfall. However, causes that help the elderly don’t attract as much funding as say, education, which in Singapore receives the lion’s share of donations: in 2019, they accounted for 52.9% of total receipts of $20.8 billion (Commissioner of Charities 2020).

#2 Access to home care and assisted living

Letting people age at home or in the community and delaying institutional care is a universal goal. But as the number of seniors with mobility issues or age-related ailments increases, demand for home nursing, home therapy, meal deliveries, assistive devices and home safety and modification services (to prevent falls) will rise. There will also be a much bigger role for centre-based eldercare, such as day care, and initiatives for assisted living.

#3 Depression and suicide

Aside from physical ill health, many seniors grapple with loneliness, loss of loved ones or dependence on others. The number of elderly living alone doubled to 63,800 in 2020 from a decade ago and is set to hit 83,000 by 2030 (Singapore Department of Statistics). The pandemic has worsened the social isolation of these singles as befriending and outreach services have stopped or moved online. Those who are not digitally savvy find it hard to access e-services.  

According to the Samaritans of Singapore, the number of people aged 60 and above who took their own lives reached a high at 154 deaths in 2020. That’s a 26% increase from the year before and is the highest elderly suicide death rate since 19912. There is an urgent need to support charities that connect with seniors, organise social outings or wellness activities for them, offer intergenerational bonding or assist beneficiaries with their healthcare needs such as medical appointments and screenings. 

#4 Dementia support

Dementia is our nation’s most prevalent neurodegenerative disease today, affecting one in 10 seniors. By 2030, the number of dementia patients is set to reach 92,000 – a doubling from 2015 (Dementia in the Asia Pacific Region). Dementia additionally imposes a huge burden on caregivers, many of whom are ageing themselves. We need more funding to support early diagnosis and intervention, community dementia care services such as exercise and cognitive activities as well as training and support for caregivers.

#5 End of life care

Discussions about death or end of life remain taboo. There is insufficient advance care planning as well as a lack of healthcare workers and expertise in the palliative care system. Better awareness and improved options for inpatient, home or day care hospice services are needed.

How CFS helps you do more with your giving

If you would like to help seniors who have fallen through the cracks or would like to make ageing more empowering and inclusive, we at CFS can align your giving goals with the needs of this community. We are a cause-neutral organisation that supports grantmaking to a wide range of charitable areas in Singapore. Of the 400-plus charities we evaluate and make grants to, close to 30% work with seniors. We partner with charities that focus on clearly identified problem areas or social gaps that are under-supported. Charities must also demonstrate measurable outcomes and good stewardship of funds.

A simple and cost-effective way to contribute to a variety of causes in Singapore is by setting up a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF). A DAF can be set up by an individual, a beneficiary of a will, a trust, or a family office. CFS will handle all fund administration and leverage our unparalleled insight into Singapore’s charitable landscape to provide philanthropy advice that ensures your giving is targeted, accountable and impactful. CFS strives to ensure that every grant that goes out creates positive change.

As a donor, you will save on legal expenses and enjoy upfront tax deductions at the prevailing rate on eligible donations. Donors will also receive regular statements tracking incoming donations to the DAF and outgoing disbursements to charities. CFS has an established track record when it comes to setting up DAFs and our DAF payout rates outperformed the entire US DAF industry by 12% and their community foundations by 2 times. 

If you would like to begin your giving journey with CFS, get in touch with us.

This article was written by Sunita Sue Leng, a former financial analyst and journalist, who believes that the written word can be a force for good. She hopes to someday write something worth plagiarising.

1 https://www.asiaone.com/health/elderly-health-costs-rise-tenfold-2030-report

2 https://www.sos.org.sg/pressroom/singapore-reported-452-suicide-deaths-in-2020-number-of-elderly-suicide-deaths-highest-recorded-since-1991

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News

Indonesia’s Karim Family Foundation raises S$200,000 to support badminton world champion Loh Kean Yew

John Doe
John Doe
picture of loh kean yew holding his medal

An Indonesian tycoon’s family foundation, the Karim Family Foundation, has raised S$200,000 to support badminton player Loh Kean Yew, the first Singaporean to win the Badminton World Federation World Championships.  

The Karim Family Foundation – set up by the family of Indonesian tycoon Bachtiar Karim and his wife Dewi Sukwanto – wanted to congratulate Loh for his win at the championships in December 2021, according to Zaobao. 

Previously, a crowdfunding initiative Ray of Hope as well as donations from 5 business leaders in Singapore also raised over S$158,000 for the badminton player. 

Bachtiar Karim is the executive chairman of Singapore-headquartered oil conglomerate Musim Mas. In 2021, the Karim family had a net worth of around US$3.5 billion, making it the 10th richest in Indonesia, according to Forbes. 

Cindy Karim, principal at the Karim Family Foundation, said the family was “inspired” by Loh’s perseverance and humility “even after such an amazing feat”. 

Noting that the foundation has had a focus on sports development, art and culture, mental health and education, she added: “We hope to inspire future Loh Kean Yews in Singapore.” 

The donation is being made through a donor-advised fund with The Community Foundation of Singapore. 

If you too, would like to support a cause of your choice, please click here. 

This article was originally published in Business Times here. Source: Business Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.  

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Stories Of Impact

Minding the gaps: 10 friends collaborate to take on social issues in Singapore

John Doe
John Doe
10 charities received donations from Mind the Gap 200 (MtG200) fund at the SG Cares “Celebrating our Culture of Care” closing event at Tampines Hub in August 2019.

Widening social inequality, an ageing population, and the threat of climate change – these are the issues that frame our world today. Amidst increasing recognition of these complex issues, a group of ten donors have come together to establish Mind the Gap 200 (MtG 200), a multi-fund project, with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS). Thus far, S$10 million has been raised.

The brainchild of Mr Tow Heng Tan, CEO of Pavilion Capital, MtG 200 is the first ever collective of donor advised funds to address social issues across multiple sectors in Singapore. MtG 200 will provide support to four areas of focus: community, education, healthcare and sustainability.

Since July 2019, MtG 200 has disbursed over $2m to a variety of initiatives that fall under its four focus areas. Close to $1m has been used to fund palliative care training, facilities and other in-patient programmes across charities such as Assisi Hospice and St. Luke’s Hospital. More than half a million will go to resourcing educational programmes across life stages – from early childhood initiatives right up to bursaries at the tertiary level.

During the SG Care’s bicentennial celebrations in August 2019, $200,000 was disbursed to a total of 10 charities, such as Stroke Support Station Ltd, YMCA, Very Special Arts Singapore and Waterways Watch Society. Finally, a further $150,000 has gone to fund training and job coaching to help socially excluded groups secure permanent employment.

The idea of launching a group of donor funds under a common umbrella took root in 2017. Back then, the word ‘divide’ regularly appeared in the news as well as in conversations. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also spoke about social issues at Singapore’s National Day Rally. The idea for the MtG 200 was thus born – with its aim to contribute towards a stronger and more cohesive society that will last another 200 years and beyond. Mr Tow rallied like-minded friends, and through his passionate advocacy, MtG 200 is now spearheaded by ten donor sponsors, many of whom are business professionals.

For Mr David Heng, CEO of ABC World Asia, MtG 200 was an opportunity to balance head and heart. He says, “Sustainability is an issue I think about every day, but more so from the investment angle. The MtG 200 project helps me to cover the non-investment aspect. I hope my friends will see the value in this project and lend their support.”

Others, like Mr Chew Sutat, are already active champions of social causes. As the executive vice president of the Singapore Exchange (SGX), Mr Chew is also chairman of the SGX Bull Charge, SGX’s flagship charity initiative and chairman of mental health charity Caregivers Alliance Limited. Mr Chew, whose focus is on supporting caregivers, says, “By expressing solidarity with those in need, philanthropic giving has helped to alleviate social tensions that inevitably surface over time.”

For Mr Teng Ngiek Lian, MtG 200 complements his personal endowment fund called The Silent Foundation, which focuses on disadvantaged groups. Under the MtG 200 group, he helms the Singapore Unity Fund, aimed at addressing social divides. “One way we can effectively tackle inequality is to help the underprivileged attain upward social mobility, while simultaneously upholding the tenets of meritocracy. MtG 200 is a small step towards supporting the less advantaged, and helping them change their circumstances,” he added.

Mr Tung Chi Fung, CEO of Sheng Ye Capital and donor sponsor of the Knowledge Fund, echoes this sentiment, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. We hope to help disadvantaged young people to bridge the knowledge gap.”

Tapping on CFS’s deep understanding of local issues, the MtG 200 group of funds are targeted at identified gaps. It will help to build capabilities in the sector and provide impactful solutions that can be sustained in the long-term. Take for instance, its Intergenerational Fund, which seeks to tackle social isolation of elders in Singapore through purposeful intergenerational interaction. Over $300,000 has been disbursed to support such programmes by charities Empower Ageing, All Saints Home and Viraya Community Services.

Professor Kua Ee Heok, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the National University of Singapore, champions The Mental Health Fund and has helped to provide charities with limited fund-raising capacity with much needed support as they continue to advocate for mental well-being. The fund will also support mental health and resilience research and services for the young and old alike.

Ultimately, the vision of MtG 200 is to be a timely reminder for all of us to ‘mind the gap’ in our lives and to work with others in making a difference. Mr Tow expresses, “MtG 200 is a collaborative effort. Without the support of like-minded friends, this would not have gotten off the ground. With the support of CFS, together we can create an impact that will be exponentially bigger than what we can ever achieve as individuals.”

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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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Opinion

Four critical gaps in improving employability for all

John Doe
John Doe
Four people in green shirts working on soil in a gardening project.

A person in a wheelchair with much to give. A stay-at-home mum who misses working. An ex-offender who yearns for a second chance. A senior forced to retire early. These are some examples of people who want to work. They believe they can contribute to society. They also deserve the basic right to work and should not be denied from doing so.

Yet, many of them face difficulties in securing decent jobs. In recent years, the gig economy opened up opportunities for individuals facing barriers to traditional employment or those who need flexibility. However, gig work comes with its own set of challenges, such as unstable income and a lack of employment benefits.

Through our years on the ground partnering with local charities, social service agencies and research organisations, we at CFS have identified four groups – ex-inmates, persons with disabilities (PWDs), seniors, and women – that face challenges in securing gainful employment due to bias, unfair practices, or lack of accessibility. This, in turn, can lock them and their families in a vicious cycle of hardship. 

Employment needs to become more inclusive and provide fair opportunities to everyone. In Singapore, workplace anti-discrimination guidelines are being enshrined into law, but there is still more work to be done. This is where philanthropy can make a significant difference. At CFS, we connect donors with charities and programmes that uplift the employability of marginalised people.

We work with charities that build awareness of individual and structural barriers in the workplace and advocate for change. They are also empowering disenfranchised job seekers by providing skills training, job matching, mentoring and more. Read on to learn about the realities faced by disadvantaged people and how you can help.

Building Disability-Inclusive Workplaces 

About 15 per cent of the global population, or over one billion individuals, have a disability. This makes persons with disabilities (PWDs) one of the world’s biggest minority groups (World Bank, 2023). In Singapore, only 30 per cent of PWDs of working age are employed. The government hopes to raise this figure to 40 per cent by 2030 (The Straits Times, 17 August 2022). Barriers include the prevailing bias that disabled people are less productive and troublesome to accommodate in the workplace.  

Organisations like the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) and SG Enable, an agency for disability, are striving to change attitudes and help employers create disability-friendly workplaces. Companies are also encouraged to open up work-from-home opportunities to those who are less mobile. Hiring more PWDs and giving them meaningful careers will translate to overall gains in labour force productivity for Singapore going forward.  

Attracting Female Talent to Close the Gender Gap 

Better education and changes in attitudes towards gender-based roles have paved the way for more women to have careers. Between 2012 and 2021, Singapore’s female labour force participation grew from 57.7 per cent to 64.2 per cent. However, it still remains lower than men’s at 77.2 per cent (Statista). 

The gender gap emerges when women enter their 30s. This is typically the age when they assume more care responsibilities (Ministry of Manpower, 2022). Women continue to bear the brunt of caregiving and domestic responsibilities while juggling work. The gap, unfortunately, widens over time. Taking time off work can complicate re-entry into the workplace, creating knock-on effects throughout a women’s career. 

Yet, there is a clear business imperative to leveraging female talent. Gender diversity benefits companies as women often contribute different skills and perspectives, boosting growth, innovation, and productivity (International Monetary Fund, 2018).

While a growing number of organisations are waking up to this, there is much more room for female-friendly recruitment and retention practices. This includes flexible working arrangements, opportunities for progression and leadership, and help for mothers returning to work.

Reintegrating Ex-offenders into the Economy  

Ex-offenders are among the most marginalised and stigmatised people in our community. They face unique challenges in finding and sustaining gainful employment. Just 53 per cent of ex-offenders found jobs three months after their release – a figure that has stayed stagnant between 2017 and 2019 (Ministry of Home Affairs, 2020).

One reason is that ex-offenders who spend long periods in jail may not have the skills that are in demand, such as digital expertise. Moreover, with their limited social networks, they tend to be disconnected from market trends, knowledge of training opportunities and subsidies. That instantly puts them on a weaker footing.

Progress has been made through the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Employment Preparation Scheme, which allows ex-offenders to attend training and educational activities outside of prison during their sentences. But more can be done to help ex-offenders avoid a vicious circle. Without good jobs and long-term employment prospects, it will be harder for ex-offenders to rebuild their lives, placing them at a high risk of reoffending. 

Addressing Age-Based Employment Discrimination  

Three in four workers in Singapore do not intend to retire before 65 (The Straits Times, 3 July 2022). For many older people, working provides income and purpose and bolsters their physical and mental well-being.

Despite this, age was cited as the top reason for prejudice towards older jobseekers in a Ministry of Manpower survey (Today, 23 March 2022). Older people are stereotyped as “slow” and “less trainable”. Some may be less educated, putting them at risk of being displaced by technology. Employers may prefer to train younger employees, who are seen as having more room to grow.

The issue is especially pressing as Singapore is fast becoming a super-aged society. While upcoming anti-discrimination laws will help, companies should also take the lead and build a multigenerational workforce. Older workers bring experience and a diversity of views to the table, which will be a source of strength.  

How You Can Help

With your generosity, you could help fund programmes that improve the employability of disadvantaged Singaporeans struggling to find work. As a cause-neutral philanthropic advisor, CFS is well-placed to help you navigate the various programmes available and tailor a giving plan based on your goals and interests. 

Efforts to address barriers to employment fall into three broad areas:

  • Development of skillsets (educational, technical/vocational training, and soft skills development) 
  • Exposure to career pathways (employer engagement and career support) 
  • Encouraging sustainable careers (getting supervisors and colleagues to accommodate marginalised individuals)

The simplest and most cost-effective way to help fund different programmes that tackle employability is by setting up a donor-advised fund (DAF). An individual, a beneficiary of a will, a trust, or a family office can set up a DAF. CFS will handle all fund administration and leverage our experience and network to ensure your giving is targeted, accountable and impactful.  

As a donor, you will save on legal expenses and enjoy upfront tax deductions at the prevailing rate on eligible donations. Donors will also receive regular statements tracking incoming donations to their DAF and outgoing disbursements to charities. CFS has an established track record when it comes to setting up DAFs. CFS is the first to bring in DAFs into Singapore and is currently the largest provider with over 220 DAFs and Community Impact Funds.  

If you would like to begin your giving journey with CFS, do get in touch with us.

References

International Monetary Fund. (28 November 2018). Economic Gains from Gender Inclusion: Even Greater than You Thoughthttps://www.imf.org/en/Blogs/Articles/2018/11/28/blog-economic-gains-from-gender-inclusion-even-greater-than-you-thought

Ministry of Home Affairs. (14 October 2020). Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on the Employment Rate of Ex-offenders, by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law. https://www.mha.gov.sg/mediaroom/parliamentary/written-reply-to-parliamentary-question-on-the-employment-rate-of-ex-offenders-by-mr-k-shanmugam-minister-for-home-affairs-and-minister-for-law/ 

Ministry of Manpower. (1 December 2022). Summary Table: Labour Force. https://stats.mom.gov.sg/Pages/Labour-Force-Summary-Table.aspx 

Statista. Labor force participation rate of women in Singapore from 2012 to 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/951113/singapore-female-labor-force-participation-rate/

The Straits Times. (17 August 2022). Singapore aims to have 40% of working-age persons with disabilities employed by 2030. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singapore-aims-to-have-40-per-cent-of-working-age-persons-with-disabilities-employed-by-2030

The Straits Times. (3 July 2022). 3 in 4 older workers don’t intend to retire before 65; reasons include staying active, having purpose. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/jobs/3-in-4-older-workers-dont-intend-to-retire-before-65-reasons-include-staying-active-having-purpose 

Today. (23 March 2022). Discrimination against workers and jobseekers declined, but ageism still prevalent: MOM survey. https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/discrimination-workers-jobseekers-declined-ageism-prevalent-mom-survey-1851551

World Bank. (3 April 2023). Disability Inclusion.
https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/disability#:~:text=Persons%20with%20disabilities%2C%20on%20average,outcomes%20than%20persons%20without%20disabilities.&text=Results-,One%20billion%20people%2C%20or%2015%25%20of%20the%20world’s%20population%2C,is%20higher%20for%20developing%20countries.

 

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”。

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News

CEO Catherine Loh goes on MONEY FM 89.3 to speak about the Sayang Sayang Fund with Michelle Martin

John Doe
John Doe
Financial management by Catherine Loh

Michelle: Let’s start with CFS and the work that it does. How does it support charities and why did the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) start the Sayang Sayang Fund?

Catherine: The Community Foundation of Singapore is also a charity. We were founded in 2008, and our main objective is to inspire philanthropy in Singapore. We do that by helping donors achieve a greater impact with their giving in communities through charitable funds. Donors can establish their own funds or if they wish, they could support one of the Community Impact Funds that we’ve started up.

The Sayang Sayang Fund is one of such Community Impact Funds. It was set up in response to the needs that arose from the COVID 19 pandemic. With our understanding of the needs on the ground, our network of community partners, government agencies, and charity partners, we were able to quickly see what the needs out there were and who needed help.

We thought that by setting up this Fund, it would be an effective way of garnering financial support from those who want to give and disburse it quickly to those in need. That’s why we started it.

Michelle: I understand the Fund aims to help healthcare workers on the frontlines and the vulnerable, and that the Sayang Sayang Fund has pledged some quarter of a million dollars in taxi vouchers to frontline staff of healthcare institutions. How close is the Fund to meeting that goal?

Catherine: I’m happy to say that thanks to the generosity of our donors that we have actually disbursed over $400,000 of taxi and transport vouchers to 129 public hospitals, polyclinics and community healthcare providers. For that I have to thank ComfortDelGro, Grab and Gojek for partnering with us. And I must say that when we started the Fund, our first objective was the welfare of the healthcare workers on the frontline supporting us.

It is only right that we provide them with some love and care, sayang them a bit; that’s how we started this Fund. That was the first project we were looking to do. But over time, when we raised the money, we reached out to the charities through grants calls to send over their funding requests to us, we found that there were lots of needs. In the first round of grants calls we received almost three million dollars in requests for funding, and that is why we decided to continue with the Fund to raise more money.

Michelle: Where are the urgent needs now Catherine, and how is CFS helping to plug these gaps?

Catherine: With the circuit breaker measures, the loss of work and everybody having to stay at home, I would say that almost everyone in Singapore is affected. So one of the very urgent needs that we are trying to address is really how to support the students that have to study from home, or ‘home based learning’.

Through our Recess@Home programme, we are very grateful that we have the partnership support of the Ministry of Education to quickly reach out to thousands of children who might need financial support. Because these students do get subsidies or free food when they are in school, now these students cannot go to school. We want to provide them with some financial support so at least there is some assurance that they do get their proper meals while they study at home. So that is one need.

We realise too that there are seniors that may be sick and are living alone at home and not getting their usual medical care and support. We would also love to set up an emergency fund for those community nurses or even volunteers who are still allowed to do house visits to provide these vulnerable seniors with any form of support that they might need. We understand that there are lots of groups out there that are already providing food and basic necessities. Community nurses could supply them with medicines, medical support, essentials or anything they might need while they are staying at home on their own.

Even young students from families that might need them to take on a part-time job to supplement the family income are no longer able to do so. We could provide them with financial support so they can focus on their studies and not drop out of school because of the worries of not being able to provide for their family. That is one thing that we would like to do as well. Of course, we also have a lot of foreign guests and workers who are falling sick and how can we help them.

Last but not least, back to our healthcare workers again. With the number of cases that they have to take care of, I think it is very important that they stay physically and mentally healthy so that stress doesn’t get to them. We do wish to be able to continue to support these workers with transport vouchers or even funding so their organisations can charter, say buses to send them home quickly after their long work shift.

Michelle: Given the number and the sheer variety of needs out there, how is the Fund approaching giving? I understand in your initial phase, CFS was seeking donations of a million and above. Right now is pretty much any help welcome?

Catherine: We do have a target of three million, and as we speak there are more needs surfacing, so I do think the Fund will continue to stay open as long as there are needs out there that need support. We do have a team of grant-makers out there to assess the situation.

We don’t work alone; we work with our partners like government agencies, NCSS (National Council of Social Service) and AIC (Agency of Integrated Care). We have our whole network of charity partners and we have our other funders who are active and even volunteer groups. We work with all these groups to gather all this information to see where and how the Sayang Sayang Fund can help.

Michelle: Is there a minimum of a million dollars to be able to donate?

Catherine: No, any amount is welcome. I must say that Singaporeans in general have been very generous because last week when many of us received the $600 of the Solidarity payment, many people have donated online in support of Sayang Sayang and also the other charities that happen to be fund-raising.

Michelle: Singaporeans are so generous, so lovely to hear that. Can you share a little bit of your estimate of how much you’re going to need to meet the evolving emergency needs you anticipate for the next couple of weeks?

Catherine: I do hope we can raise another one to two million dollars so that we can actually provide longer term targeted support. I think this pandemic is not going to go away by early June. The economy will only be slowly cranking up after that, so there will still be people who need support one way or the other.

Listen to the full interview here: https://omny.fm/shows/money-fm-893/influence-lending-a-helping-hand-during-covid-19

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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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