New programmes for Central Singapore District, says mayor Denise Phua

Central Singapore District mayor Denise Phua also said she also hoped to encourage volunteerism and build a district where people "do good".
Central Singapore District mayor Denise Phua also said she also hoped to encourage volunteerism and build a district where people "do good". PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

SINGAPORE - Various organisations have sprung up in the Central Singapore District to help the needy residents there, but they sometimes end up providing duplicate services.

To reduce the overlap, Central Singapore District mayor Denise Phua has plans to bring in an "integrator" that will help to coordinate and manage the different services.

This will be one of the key focuses for Ms Phua, a Jalan Besar GRC MP, during her three-year term as the head of the Central Community Development Council (CDC).

Outlining her plans for her current term on Tuesday(Jul18), she said she also hoped to encourage volunteerism and build a district where people "do good".

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The Central Singapore District - which includes towns like Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Toa Payoh and Jalan Besar - is home to about 1 million residents, and contains about half of Singapore's rental flats.

Ms Phua pointed out that in estates with many needy elderly residents, for example, there could be hospitals, voluntary welfare organisations, senior activity centres and grassroots organisations providing similar health services independently of each other. "We need to ensure that the residents' needs are understood, and social services are coordinated," she said adding that this would cut wastage.

She said the CDC could bring in a partner, such as a grassroots organisation, to handle the task of coordinating services for residents.

On Tuesday(Jul18), Ms Phua also unveiled other programmes that will be launched in the coming months, ranging from talks to build interfaith understanding to a pilot scheme for former Sungei Road hawkers.

"If we are trying to encourage volunteerism, we have to give (people) many options," said Ms Phua who was appointed for a second three-year term as mayor in May.

The talks on faith are a collaboration with South East District mayor Maliki Osman. They hope to develop short modules about the basics of different faiths and bring them to offices as lunch-time talks, said Ms Phua.

On the scheme for Sungei Road hawkers, Ms Phua said some have moved into hawker centres and the Central CDC will help to refurbish and renovate their stalls so they can better display their mechandise and draw more customers.

So far, the CDC has helped one stallholder, Madam Kew Poh Geok, 70, who now sells secondhand clothes and knick knacks at the North Bridge Road Market and Food Centre.

Said Madam Kew: "I never liked to idle around and this is an opportunity for me."