Ideas to tackle eldercare and mental health issues needed

SINGAPORE - An initiative by the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) is calling for proposals to help solve eldercare and mental health issues here.

Launched at a media session and panel discussion on Friday (May 13), the initiative, called LeapForGood, aims to solve such problems by providing development opportunities and funding for social enterprise ideas through a year-long programme.

The initiative is a collaboration with the National Council of Social Service and DesignSingapore Council.

Proposals may receive up to $100,000 in grants. The number of social enterprises receiving this grant is flexible, depending on merit, and raiSE would be looking to support five to six out of the 20 applications that make it through the prototyping phase.

Through social entrepreneurship, LeapForGood hopes that it can address emerging social needs.

Ms Seow Hui Hong, head of programmes and partnership at raiSE, said: "Through ethnographic studies, expert interviews and feedback from voluntary welfare organisation partners, we created elderly and mental health personas from a composite of in-depth studies on individuals."

These generic personas were based on 40 individuals who are elderly or have mental health issues. They were part of two studies commissioned by raiSE and DesignSingapore Council, and conducted by design consultancies Orcadesign and Overspective.

Panel member, Dr Chey Chor Khoon, executive director of Lions Befrienders Service Association (Singapore), hopes that social enterprises - or businesses with a social mission - can provide solutions to better assess how impactful their services are and help them retain volunteers.

Proposals submitted will be judged on how well it has targeted the needs of focus groups, viability of its business proposition, commitment of its founders and the extent to which solutions that have been validated on the ground.

Interested participants can attend a series of workshops starting on June 11 and submit their applications by July 17. More information on the programme is available on leapforgood.com