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More opportunities for Singaporeans to show they care

SINGAPORE — There will soon be more opportunities for Singaporeans to contribute and volunteer meaningfully, as part of a new national movement aimed at building a caring citizenry.

More opportunities for Singaporeans to show they care

Organisers and volunteers packing the food to be distributed to the residents at a community outreach programme in 2016. More opportunities for volunteerism will come in the form of SG Cares, to be launched by the second half of this year. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — There will soon be more opportunities for Singaporeans to contribute and volunteer meaningfully, as part of a new national movement aimed at building a caring citizenry.

Announcing the launch of the SG Cares movement, Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth said during the Committee of Supply debate on Thursday (March 9) that it was aimed to “harness the goodwill of Singaporeans, inspire them to step forward” so they can help others in need.

To be launched by the second half of this year, it will focus on various social causes, such as supporting vulnerable families and persons with disabilities.

Jointly led by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre and the National Council of Social Service, the idea for SG Cares came about after a series of SGfuture engagement sessions and dialogues were held last year to spur Singaporeans to share their hopes and aspirations for the nation.

During these sessions, participants had said that they wanted to do more to help fellow Singaporeans in need.

One key area under SG Cares is to provide more chances for Singaporeans to volunteer, be it through informal or formal means, as well as to facilitate ground-up efforts. This will be done by identifying the needs that can be met by the community, as well as working with public sector agencies and community partners to scale up existing programmes, adapt successful models, and create more opportunities to involve volunteers.

To support more ground-up initiatives, SG Cares will also be ramping up access to resources and networks for individuals and groups to share ideas and help find solutions for the community.

In her speech, Ms Fu lauded a ground-up initiative called Keeping Hope Alive, where some 60 volunteers – ranging from doctors, plumbers, carpenters and students – deliver porridge to residents from over 150 rental flats every Sunday.

They also help the seniors cut their hair, check for expired food or medication, and repaint their homes.

She said: “This is the spirit we hope to cultivate through SG Cares – communities self-organising to care for its members and inspiring others to do good. For giving to truly make a difference to the lives of people, you need to know the person you are helping well.”

SG Cares will also organise the efforts of relevant public agencies, activate networks of volunteers to collaborate and encourage corporates, grassroots groups and non-profits to partner together. This is to ensure they can better connect volunteers’ time and talent and the corporates’ capabilities, with the needs on the ground.

SG Cares will also work with social service organisations to strengthen their volunteer management capacity, and equip volunteers with the necessary skills and training.

In setting out such efforts, she urged both seniors and youths to be part of this movement. Ms Fu also cited how close to 40 projects have been supported by Our Singapore Fund, which was set up last year and aimed at supporting projects which build national identity or meet social and community needs.

SG Cares was soft-launched in November last year, in conjunction with Giving Week, to engage potential partners and kick off pilot projects.  Those who want to volunteer can sign up via the SG Cares site and Giving.sg.

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