'Companies should pool their resources to better serve the community': ESM Goh

Mr Bernand Yang, managing director of Nanyang Optical, which is a part of Project We Care.
Mr Bernand Yang, managing director of Nanyang Optical, which is a part of Project We Care.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Companies should work together and pool their resources when helping to meet social needs in the community, said Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on Thursday (June 30).

He was speaking at the inaugural Project We Care Seminar at Pan Pacific Hotel. The event aims to connect companies to share best practices in corporate giving and think of new ideas to do more for society. Project We Care, which started in 2012, is an initiative led by companies and the People's Association (PA) to promote corporate volunteerism.

Speaking to reporters later, Mr Goh said: "The last mile of delivery (of social services) is often not met. If you have a presence in the community, like the People's Association, you know better what the individuals need.... and you have a good understanding of what companies can give, then you can marry the two (and better meet the needs)."

He cited the example of Project We Care Stay Well, which helps 40 needy families in Marine Parade to live better with basic refurbishments in their homes. PA brought together 19 companies in the Project We Care network to help in different ways.

For instance, engineering company Hope Technik sent 80 staff to help clean up the homes and lent its engineering expertise in repairing leaking pipes and faulty wheelchairs.

Another civil engineering firm, Koh Kok Leong Enterprise, supported the initiative by donating money to cover refurbishment costs. The initiative has since been extended to residents in Ang Mo Kio and Sengkang West.

He also encouraged companies to help society on a regular basis. "Volunteerism needs to move past the 'touch and go' towards a 'touch and hold' model," he said.

Nanyang Optical managing director Bernard Yang agreed that it was important for companies to collaborate with other organisations. The eyewear store is a member of the Project We Care network.

He said: "Addressing needs in the community should be a collective effort. It is when we work together and leverage on the strengths of one another that we will be able to do more to benefit the community."

Ms Wee Wei Ling, chairman of Project We Care, said, "We believe that the seminar can serve as a conducive networking and brainstorming platform for corporates to explore ways to give back to society and also inspire others to do the same. By encouraging interaction between peers, we can rally more partners to join our cause and see ideas materialise into projects that will benefit the community."