Free wheelchair repairs by seniors, for seniors

Mr Tan Tan Tong, 84, (far left) and Mr Tan Seng Kin, 73, are among the 30 from the five senior activity centres who will be trained to service wheelchairs for other low-income seniors, as part of a three-year pilot programme.
Mr Tan Tan Tong, 84, (left) and Mr Tan Seng Kin, 73, are among the 30 from the five senior activity centres who will be trained to service wheelchairs for other low-income seniors, as part of a three-year pilot programme.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Getting help to fix one's wheelchair will become easier for about 600 senior citizens who have lower incomes.

The elderly residents of 30 rental blocks in Tampines and Bedok will benefit from free servicing and repairs of manual wheelchairs at five senior activity centres (SACs) until March 2020, in a three-year pilot programme. The repairs will be done by 30 senior citizens to be recruited by the centres and trained by Kampung Senang, a charity and education foundation. The Wheels programme is funded by philanthropic group Temasek Foundation Cares and administered by the Agency for Integrated Care, in partnership with Kampung Senang.

Retired cook Tan Seng Kin, 73, is a member of Lions Befrienders SAC's wheelchair servicing team. Being able to contribute to society gives him a sense of purpose, said Mr Tan, who used to repair his bicycle himself and found those skills applicable to wheelchairs.

Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, who launched the Wheels programme yesterday, said it was a good example of how seniors can help others. "(Programmes such as this) deconstruct myths and false impressions about our seniors, from being beneficiaries of social services, to being active volunteers and role models for younger people," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2017, with the headline 'Free wheelchair repairs by seniors, for seniors'. Print Edition | Subscribe