Donations from far and near for ST pocket money fund

Electronic goods chain and students in London and Singapore pitch in

IT HAS come a long way since 1999, when it started out as a single shop in Sim Lim Square.

Now Newstead Technologies - an electronic goods chain with more than 40 stores across the island - is giving back to the community.

The firm has raised more than $23,000 for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF) through a two-week campaign which featured promotions including a charity auction of notebook computers and a roadshow.

The SPMF helps children from lowincome families with their school-related expenses. Newstead matched the money raised during the campaign dollar for dollar, which brought the total donations to $50,000.

"In Singapore, where more than 95 per cent of households with school going children have computer access at home, we were surprised to hear that thousands of children are struggling with their basic schooling needs," said the firm?s marketing manager Evelyn Chua.

On Tuesday, Newstead managing director Mindy Tan presented a cheque to SPMF organising vice-chairman Irene Ngoo.

In a separate fund-raising effort, two groups of students have made use of their creativity and musical talent to raise funds for the SPMF.

Although they are halfway around the world, a group of about 50 students from the King's College London Malaysian & Singaporean Society produced, directed and acted in a musical titled In Pursuit - raising 1,573 pounds ($3,120) for the SPMF. It was staged in London in March.

"Helping less fortunate children have better access to education is a cause close to our hearts as we, as students studying overseas, realise how blessed we are to have such an opportunity," said its producer Jessica Mallek, 21.

In Singapore, another group of students organised two concerts in aid of the SPMF and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, which helps talented children from low-income families.

The group, called Inspire, was formed as part of the Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes initiative, which provides young people with funding to help them support a cause of their choice.

Inspire has previously raised more than $150,000 for the SPMF by selling souvenir teddy bears and Post-It notes on the street.

It hopes to raise $20,000 through the two concerts at Hwa Chong Institution. One was staged yesterday and the other will be held today.

For more information on The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, e-mail stfund@sph.com.sg