Tuesday 27 January 2015

Govt doubles Care & Share grant with S$250m boost

By Xue JianYue, TODAY, 26 Jan 2015

Charities and their volunteers came together yesterday to engage the public at the inaugural SG Care and Share Day, where visits to booths allowed people to experience what it means to be a volunteer and understand more about social causes, while enjoying performances by volunteers, beneficiaries and MediaCorp TV and Radio personalities.

At the event, Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing announced that the Government would extend its support for the Care & Share @SG50 Movement until March 31 next year, setting aside another S$250 million for the movement. This doubles the total government matching grant for the initiative to S$500 million.

Launched by Community Chest in October 2013, the movement has raised more than S$300 million.

SG Care and Share Day, a collaboration between MediaCorp and Comchest, attracted more than 2,000 visitors and 20 charities and their beneficiaries yesterday.

At the booths, members of the public put themselves in the shoes of volunteers to better understand various causes. The charities also conducted hands-on activities for the public, such as learning a dialect, floral arrangement, arts and craft as well as using Braille to make products such as name cards.

In a speech announcing the increased government grant, Mr Chan encouraged Singaporeans to share their time and personal skills with the less privileged. “Time to keep the lonely old folks company, to provide them with the social connection, often is more important than giving them just the donation,” he said.

“For many of the corporate partners who are here with us, you have in your corporations tremendous amount of talent (and) energy to do the good work in your corporations. We hope you too will share some of those talent with the many VWOs in the areas of legal, finance, publicity and so forth.”

MediaCorp, for example, has leveraged its stars and staff to help VWOs publicise their causes and inform many Singaporeans about these social service avenues, he said.

Since the movement’s inception, more than 110,000 volunteers have been engaged through 2,000 events. Funds raised from the movement will be used by VWOs to introduce new programmes, strengthen infrastructure and build capabilities.

Said Mr Tan Wee Liam, one of the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped’s Braille workshop conductors: “Teaching people to make Braille bookmarks isn’t much, but it is a good start. I hope it will help people better understand what Braille is about and give them an idea of what to expect if they volunteer with the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped. That way, they will know whether it is suitable for them.”

Additional reporting by Kimberly Spykerman

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