Tuesday 11 March 2014

Clubhouse for maids opens in Tanjong Pagar, May 2014

New clubhouse for maids opens in Tanjong Pagar
By Kimberly Spykerman, Channel NewsAsia, 25 May 2014

Foreign domestic workers now have a clubhouse to call their own.

It comes with facilities that include meeting rooms, a multi-purpose lounge for gatherings, and even a computer lab.

The 2,800 sq ft clubhouse is located within a commercial building at Raeburn Park in the Tanjong Pagar district.

It cost about $60,000 to renovate and furnish.

Annual membership at the clubhouse costs $4.

The association said that some 600 foreign domestic workers have signed up so far.

Seah Seng Choon, president of Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST), said: "We want to create a conducive place for the FDWs (foreign domestic workers) to gather and enjoy themselves.

"More are getting their days off... four weekends of the month. Therefore they need a place to gather."

Indonesian domestic worker Sari said: "Maybe I can join some classes, or maybe meet a new friend because here, there will be so many (foreign domestic workers) from different countries working."

Farizah Irfan, also an Indonesian domestic worker, said: "There's a library...can use computer and it's free. Good for us...Better than I hang (out) outside."

The association also plans to bring in remittance, telco and postal services at the clubhouse from mid-June, as well as work with the Singapore Law Society to provide free legal counselling there from August.

Shuttle services from Outram MRT to the clubhouse are provided by the landlord, while shuttle services on Sundays are provided by the association.

Clubhouse for maids to open in Tanjong Pagar
By Joanna Seow, The Straits Times, 10 Mar 2014

MAIDS here will soon get to enjoy new dedicated facilities and a space for gatherings when a clubhouse opens later this year.

A migrant worker group has leased a 3,000 sq ft area at Raeburn Park, near the defunct Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, for a one-stop centre catering to maids.

"We hope to have a place where they can enjoy themselves," said Mr Seah Seng Choon, president of the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST) yesterday.

"We also think it's important to provide a place for them to gather without attracting complaints from people in the area."

The three-year lease is for part of an existing office building. The clubhouse will be partially launched next month, with a computer laboratory, library and lounge. When fully open later in the year, it will offer counselling and fitness activities as well as legal, remittance, postal and phone card services.

Maids will also be able to book rooms and an al fresco seating area to host celebrations.

The membership fee is $4 per year, said FAST's executive director William Chew. The clubhouse will be open from 11am to 5pm daily, to cater to maids who have days off on weekdays.

FAST came up with the idea of a centralised hub for maids to spend their rest days in 2012, after the Government said it would implement a weekly day off policy for domestic workers, which took effect in January last year.

But plans for the hub stalled despite half a year of negotiations to get the rent lowered.

Now that the location has been secured, FAST announced its plans yesterday at its first Education Fair, which was held at The Grassroots Club, near Yio Chu Kang MRT station. The fair attracted about 600 maids who listened to presentations from course providers and motivational speakers.

One was Mrs Milagos Dizon, 46, a Filipino, who signed up for a caregiver class as well as the clubhouse membership. She plans to attend classes or use the library, she said. "Now, if I have nothing to do, I go home and rest. I don't like to stay in Orchard because it's so crowded."

Another of the 121 maids who joined the clubhouse is Ms Aisyah, 24, an Indonesian who goes by one name. She said: "If we only go shopping, eat, sit around, we never improve ourselves, but here there will be good activities."

"I'm very happy because it's a place just for us."

* Foreign domestic workers to get new, bigger clubhouse in 2019
By Benson Ang, The Straits Times, 22 Oct 2018

Foreign domestic workers (FDWs) may soon get a new clubhouse that is 10 times larger than their current premises - and where they can relax, socialise, exercise, pick up skills, undergo counselling and remit money, among others.

Plans are afoot to rent the now-defunct Telok Kurau Secondary School building located in Chin Cheng Avenue as the new clubhouse under the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST).

The news was announced by FAST's president Seah Seng Choon during the ninth Foreign Domestic Workers Day yesterday held at the Institute of Technical Education College Central campus in Ang Mo Kio.

Addressing the maids in his welcome speech, Mr Seah said: "Last year, I promised you a new and bigger clubhouse in view of the huge membership (of FAST). The good news is that we have already identified a larger location for our new clubhouse and we plan to move in by the middle of next year."

He said FAST is currently in talks to rent the Telok Kurau Secondary building, renovate it and move in by the middle of next year.

Renovation costs are estimated to be in hundreds of thousands of dollars, but he said FAST is confident of raising the money through sponsors, partners and well-wishers.

Its current 500-capacity clubhouse in Jalan Bukit Merah is fully utilised, said Mr Seah. FAST is understood to have some 8,000 members.

The new facility, which can accommodate some 5,000 people, will feature a training academy, social service hub with counselling and mediation services, and more.

There will be a sports arena for games such as volleyball, basketball and badminton; a gymnasium; an aerobics hall, a yoga room, music lounge, cafeteria, sundry shop and more.

FDWs will be able to remit money, utilise courier services and top up their SIM cards too.

Said Mr Seah: "We hope FDWs will gather at the new clubhouse, instead of at other places such as Lucky Plaza. We want them to have a place to call their own, where they can celebrate their birthdays, enjoy the facilities and activities such as line dancing and zumba."

He said FAST will also start providing training courses for FDWs to build capabilities in caring for people with stroke, dementia, Parkinson's disease and disabilities.

These new courses, which are expected to start in a couple of months, are in response to Singapore's ageing population. Skills taught include knowing when to give medication, how to move patients, how to communicate with them and where to seek help.

Earlier this month, FAST launched the Caregiver Support Service and Helpline (1800-339-2273, or 1800 FDW CARE), to help FDWs who provide caregiving services manage stress and build mental resilience.

Awards were also given out yesterday in categories such as FDW and FDW employer of the year.

Indonesian FDW Sri Wahyuni, 51, who won the FDW of the year award, typically spends her rest days hanging out with friends in Bukit Gombak or at City Plaza.

She said: "I'm not very familiar with this new clubhouse, but I am looking forward to it."

Sri Lankan FDW Bopege Podihamy, 62, the first runner-up, said: "I really want to go to the new clubhouse. I like badminton."

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