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19 March 2010

10 Community Chest-funded Family Service Centres get $1 million from NTUC FairPrice Foundation

NTUC FairPrice Foundation donated $1 million to 10 Community Chest-funded Family Service Centres (FSCs), which provide critical services to help families build their resilience and strengthen family relationships. 

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, received the cheque on behalf of Community Chest from Mr Ng Ser Miang, Chairman of NTUC FairPrice and NTUC FairPrice Foundation, this morning.

“The family unit has always been close to the heart of our operations.  Not only do we ensure that families have quality food on the dinner table, we also want to help families live a quality and happy life.  We hope that by providing financial aid to these 10 FSCs across Singapore, these centres can continue their meaningful work of supporting families and strengthening the family and community bonding,” said Mr Ng Ser Miang, Chairman of NTUC FairPrice and NTUC FairPrice Foundation.

Mr Hwang Peng Yuan, Vice-Chairman of the Community Chest Committee, said: “Since its inception in 2008, NTUC FairPrice Foundation has been zealously supporting Community Chest’s fund-raising initiatives, including the TrueHearts charity show, ComChest picnic and the Charity Movie Premiere held last year.  We are grateful for their generous donation of $1 million to 10 FSCs under the auspices of Community Chest, which would enable these FSCs to continue to serve our beneficiaries from low-income families.”  

The 10 FSCs supported by NTUC FairPrice Foundation are AWWA FSC, Fei Yue FSC (Choa Chu Kang), Hougang Sheng Hong FSC, MacPherson Moral FSC, PPIS Jurong FSC, REACH FSC, Tanjong Pagar FSC, Moral FSC (Bedok North), Moral FSC (Bukit Panjang) and Whispering Hearts FSC.  Together they served more than 37,000 people1 last year.

There are a total of 36 FSCs in Singapore, which served a total of 149,707 people2 last year.

Learn a skill, start a home enterprise

Besides counselling, case management and referrals, some FSCs also run programmes that help individuals pick up skills to start a home enterprise, and to manage their finances.

PPIS Jurong FSC runs the Skillz@Home programme that enables women to learn skills such as sewing, bread-making and cooking.  After completion of the courses, the women will be able to start a home enterprise to improve their family’s income with the FSC helping to link them to potential clients.  Since the programme started in 2002, 500 women had completed the programme.

Madam Noridah Bte Haron was one of the service users that had benefited from the Skillz@Home programme.  Having attended courses on sewing, she was able to earn some income from the sewing assignments which helped to increase her family income by 40%.

Play the game, learn to manage finances

Other FSCs like the Moral FSC (Bedok North) started a financial planning training to help families manage their finances.  Some 60 families have gone through the programme so far.

Besides the workshops, the Moral FSC (Bedok North) also came up with the idea of learning through playing a financial planning board game.

Families would learn to review their current financial situation, manage limited income, debts and arrears, and prioritise expenses.  After playing the board game and acquiring budgeting concepts, families would be given vouchers to spend in the supermarkets.  “These activities make the concept of prudent spending more meaningful and much more effective than making them sit through financial planning classes,” said Ms Faridah Ridwan, case worker, Moral FSC (Bedok North).  The FSC plans to expand the financial planning training to a five-month programme, which it hopes to attract 112 families to attend every year.  

41-year-old Madam Chng Pek Har attended the financial planning training provided by Moral Family Service Centre (Bukit Panjang).  Now she is more aware of her family’s financial situation and has become more prudent in her household expenses.

Reach out to the youths-at-risk

Besides helping the needy families, FSCs also reach out to youths-at-risk.  Hougang Sheng Hong FSC’s Rainbow Connection Programme, helps more than 60 to 70 youths per year through academic tuition, character building workshops and school holiday programmes.  Through this programme, the youths were able to increase their self-confidence and do better in their studies.

15-year-old Nurmasrinayu used to lack motivation.  After she attended the Rainbow Connection Programme, her confidence and self-esteem increased.  She has improved in her studies and is now the leader of a dance group.

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