Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Heartbeat @ Bedok: Community facilities under one roof at new lifestyle hub

Heartbeat@Bedok houses sports centre, library, community club, polyclinic and more
By Seow Bei Yi, The Straits Times, 5 Feb 2018

Singapore's second integrated community hub opened in Bedok yesterday, bringing a sports centre, public library, community club, polyclinic and senior care centre under one roof.

Heartbeat@Bedok, which occupies a site roughly the size of three football fields, also has more than 30 retailers, including eateries.

Noting that residents' lifestyles and needs have changed since Bedok Town was built more than 40 years ago, Mr Lee Yi Shyan, an MP for East Coast GRC, said the new building allows for more efficient use of land, and for the different agencies there to provide joint programmes.

"The land freed up by relocating amenities would make room for new housing and new parks," he said, before the building was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday. "In a mature town like Bedok, we are hard-pressed to find any open space to build new flats for young families," he added.

About a third of the floor area of Our Tampines Hub, which opened last year, Heartbeat@Bedok houses the ActiveSG East Bedok Sports Centre, Bedok Public Library, Kampong Chai Chee Community Club, Bedok Polyclinic and a senior care centre.

Mr Lee Yi Shyan said he hoped the hub would be a "national innovation laboratory" to pilot new services, such as telemedicine and the pairing of workout data with health statistics to track individuals' rehabilitation progress.

For a start, various agencies there have rolled out an initiative called Heartbeat Cares to reach out to seniors and their families.

Under this initiative, residents may be referred to the Active Health Lab - by Sport Singapore and its healthcare partners - to develop a personalised fitness regime. There are also weekly morning exercise sessions, health screenings, talks and cooking demonstrations.

About 14 per cent of Bedok Town's 290,000 or so residents are aged 65 and above.

Mr Lee Yi Shyan said the aim is for the five agencies in the new building to partner one another for at least 40 per cent of their programmes and initiatives, to better meet the diverse and changing needs of residents.

Coordination between agencies is done manually now, but "we are looking into developing an app to automate these processes", he added.

Bedok residents have already started using the new facilities.

Housewife Lily Saeimaim, 47, who has been living in Bedok for eight years, said: "There were exercise facilities in the neighbourhood last time, but everything was farther away from each other and we had to take a bus to move around. It is more convenient now."

"The facilities here also have indoor areas, so we can use them even when it is raining," she added. "I now come here to play badminton thrice a week, and my husband uses the gym weekly."

Engineer Johnson Lim, also 47, finds the library a more inviting place for the young than it was before. "There are more spaces for the children to sit and relax, and the colours are much brighter," said the father of two.

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