New football programme to help underprivileged and at-risk youth

A football programme aimed at changing the lives of underprivileged and at-risk youth was launched on Saturday by the SportCares Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Singapore Sports Council.

Called "Saturday Night Lights", the programme is held on Saturdays from 7pm to 11pm. It offers quality coaching, supper, and bus rides home - all at no charge - to about 90 youth. The coaches and volunteers use football to reinforce values such as discipline and team work.

Though the programme was piloted about two months ago, organisers and volunteers are already seeing positive changes in the youths' character. SportCares Foundation assistant director Laura Reid said she has seen more "self-belief and confidence" in the youth. She also hopes to introduce the programme to other regions and adapt it for other sports in future.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is MP for Jurong GRC, was guest of honour at the launch event at Jurong Stadium.