Volunteer leave good news for charities

We are very encouraged by news that the civil service has given one day of leave to all civil servants to volunteer at charities ("Civil servants get 1 day off to volunteer at charities"; last Friday).

This is indeed great news for all charities, as we rely heavily on the efforts of volunteers to deliver services to beneficiaries.

It is also through the efforts of volunteers, donors and well-wishers that the spirit of care and kindness is being demonstrated.

It is very important at the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) that we empower our volunteers as partners to help care for our kidney patients as they work closely with us.

This new initiative by the civil service allows charities to tap the valuable expertise and skill sets that many civil servants possess.

For example, many charities do not have funding for positions. Civil servants with the relevant skill sets and expertise could help in important areas of work that is often found lacking.

This would be in line with the skill-based volunteerism that the National Council of Social Service is trying to encourage.

In addition, through this effort, civil servants might also be well positioned to understand the more unfortunate population groups and, hence, be able to develop good policies that will help needy citizens who fall through the cracks of our social safety net.

I applaud this very meaningful initiative by the civil service and hope it will greatly benefit charities in Singapore.

Edmund Kwok
Chief Executive Officer
National Kidney Foundation

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2015, with the headline 'Volunteer leave good news for charities'. Print Edition | Subscribe