Help will be a tap away at Moulmein-Cairnhill

Since 2008, needy residents in the ward have been given $2 vouchers every weekend to buy food from participating Pek Kio Market stalls (above) as well as two nearby coffee shops. Meanwhile, a new app will be launched to connect residents keen on volu
Since 2008, needy residents in the ward have been given $2 vouchers every weekend to buy food from participating Pek Kio Market stalls (above) as well as two nearby coffee shops. Meanwhile, a new app will be launched to connect residents keen on volunteering with those seeking help.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Help from fellow residents will soon be a few smartphone taps away for people living in Moulmein-Cairnhill ward.

A new app - named Mo-Ca Cares after the ward's acronym - will be launched later this month to connect residents keen on volunteering with those looking for help, said Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Melvin Yong.

Such assistance could include tuition or haircuts, or help in running small errands. Those without smartphones can approach community centres and residents' committees in the ward for help in posting a notice on the app.

Mr Yong told reporters at Pek Kio Market and Food Centre yesterday: "We are blessed with 88 per cent of our constituency being residents in private properties who are able to help and willing to help.

"So we try to play a connecting role, linking them up with people who need the help."

He was giving an update on plans for the ward he looks after, ahead of a constituency visit by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat scheduled for Oct 29, when the app will be launched.

Job seekers can also turn to the app, which will list available jobs in the constituency.

Five groups overseeing food centres and businesses there have agreed to post job openings. They are the Orchard Road Business Association, the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association, Pek Kio Merchants Association, Newton Hawker Centre Stallholders Association and Kandang Kerbau Market Dealers' Friendly Association.

The Moulmein-Cairnhill Wellness Fund, which will waive health screening costs for residents, will also be launched during Mr Heng's visit.

There are plans for free post-screening consultations with physicians from Sian Chay Medical Institution, and for free tui na - Chinese therapeutic massage - sessions too.

A meal voucher scheme that began nine years ago will also be relaunched.

Since 2008, needy residents have been given $2 vouchers every weekend to buy food from participating stalls in Pek Kio Market as well as two nearby coffee shops.

But residents are sometimes unsure which stalls accept them, said Mr Yong.

This will no longer be a problem, as stickers will go up at the more than 40 participating stalls.

He also gave an update on the ward's Five Loaves programme, which residents can donate to and gives out bread to those in need.

Every $6 donation will pay for five loaves of bread, and over 20,000 loaves have been paid for since the scheme was launched in August.

Just over 11 per cent of the ward's 29,000 housing units are made up of HDB flats, with one rental block of 200 mostly one-room units.

"I have more people coming forward to help than asking for help," said Mr Yong. "It's just about letting them know how they can help."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2017, with the headline 'Help will be a tap away at Moulmein-Cairnhill'. Print Edition | Subscribe