Saturday 31 January 2015

15th Social Service Office officially launches in Serangoon

By Nadia Jansen Hassan, Channel NewsAsia, 29 Jan 2015

The 15th Social Service Office (SSO) in Singapore was officially launched on Thursday (Jan 29) by Mr Seah Kian Peng, Adviser for Braddell Heights.

The office has been running since October 2014, and has benefited some families who can now choose to go to it because it is closer to their homes. It has handled more than 500 cases so far, and 224 individuals are currently receiving financial assistance from the SSO.

One of those receiving assistance is a 49-year old single mother with eight children, and she said having a one-stop centre with multiple services has helped ease her burden.

"Being a single mom, before receiving help previously, I had to run around a lot and my time with my family was very little. Now with this help, I have time to focus, I have quality time with my children, and it helps me with the rental fee that is being paid by them; my income is enough for my children."

During the launch, it was also announced that 50 needy families in Serangoon will receive help from March. This is through S$2 meal tokens, which they can exchange at any five selected food outlets to get their meals subsidised - about eight to 10 times a month.

The participating food outlets are at Block 304 Serangoon Avenue 2, Block 237 Serangoon Avenue 3, Blocks 261 and 267 at Serangoon Central, and Block 2 at Lorong Lew Lian.

Mr Seah said: "The idea came about when we asked whether we can provide good, hot cooked food for them, at a very low cost. We said: 'Let us talk to our coffee shop operators, because we want it to be accessible and easy for them'."

The SSO is located at Block 332, Serangoon Avenue 3, and Minister for Social and Family Development Mr Chan Chun Sing was also present, along with community partners such as grassroot leaders.

Reaching out to Serangoon residents
Elderly, low-income get meal tokens in scheme by latest Social Service Office
By Janice Tai, The Straits Times, 30 Jan 2015

SERANGOON residents in need will be able to redeem free meals using tokens at some food centres in the area from March.

The Social Service Office (SSO) in Serangoon, officially launched yesterday, has partnered grassroots leaders and a family service centre to reach out to elderly residents and low-income families who are not eating adequately.

"Sometimes we come across elderly people staying alone or low-income families with young children who do not take proper meals," said Marine Parade GRC MP Seah Kian Peng, who represents the Braddell Heights ward.

"Either they do not cook or they tend to prepare quick meals using canned food or instant noodles - this would have an impact on their health in the long term," he noted.

The new office will identify residents who need help on this front and distribute tokens to them.

The meals programme is among several projects initiated by the office since it started operations three months ago.

The SSO at Block 332, Serangoon Avenue 3, joins 14 others - part of plans by the Ministry of Social and Family Development to set up 24 offices across the island by this year.

The office will disburse funds to needy residents, and work with voluntary welfare organisations and community partners in the area to coordinate the social services being offered.

Along with family service centres islandwide, the SSOs will put help within 2km of where 95 per cent of needy residents live or work.

Since October last year, the Serangoon office has handled about 500 cases. Most involved residents in need of financial aid, or families who needed help with employment, medical or childcare issues, said general manager Lim Lay Ling.

The office was officially opened yesterday by Mr Seah. Also present were Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing, grassroots leaders and charity representatives.

Beside the entrance stood a mural showing a young man in a boat battling huge waves. Residents and SSO beneficiaries had come together to paint the piece.

Mr Chan said their efforts showed the spirit that the SSO should embody.

He said: "It is not about clients coming here just to get help - it is about giving them a sense of mission and purpose, so that they too, regardless of their circumstances, can stand tall on their feet again."

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