Plans for new building for Singapore Red Cross

From far left: SRC secretary- general Benjamin William; SRC's patron, President Tony Tan Keng Yam; and SRC chairman Tee Tua Ba with a model of the SRC's new building, which will be located beside its current building.
From far left: SRC secretary- general Benjamin William; SRC's patron, President Tony Tan Keng Yam; and SRC chairman Tee Tua Ba with a model of the SRC's new building, which will be located beside its current building.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Likely to be ready by 2019, it will offer more services, including a day activity centre

The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) will have a new eight-storey building in Dhoby Ghaut to support the expansion of its services and community outreach.

The building, which is expected to cost close to $30 million and likely to be ready by 2019 in time for the charity's 70th anniversary, will offer new services.

These include a day activity centre in the city, an operations and call centre to run an eldercare monitoring service, and new social enterprises to support vulnerable groups.

SRC secretary-general Benjamin William said: "This will probably be one of the few day activity centres in the city. We hope that people going to work in the city will find it convenient to drop off their elderly parents or loved ones and we can take care of them during the day."

The charity is expanding its services against the backdrop of the growing terrorist threat worldwide. This also comes on the back of the SGSecure national movement launched last month to prepare the public in the fight against terror.

Said SRC chairman Tee Tua Ba: "We face a volatile global security situation with the ever-present threat of terrorism. We also have an ageing population, where one in five people will be above the age of 65 by 2030. The task of strengthening community resilience is more critical than before."

The society's new building will sit on a 6,000 sq m site next to the SRC's existing Red Cross House, which is gazetted as a conservation building and will be transformed into a heritage centre. An event plaza will bridge the original and new buildings, creating more space for charitable activities.

The site for the new building is now occupied by a carpark within the Red Cross House compound.

The plans for the new building were announced yesterday at an awards ceremony to recognise people for their service to SRC.

The society will increase its capacity to train more people in first aid, build up its blood-donation advocacy programmes, and expand its pool of blood donors from 1.8 per cent to 3 per cent of the residential population.

In five years, it hopes to have 100,000 regular blood donors, up from 70,000 now, and have a million people here trained in first aid. Between 2010 and last year, 50,000 people were trained in first aid.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam, patron of the SRC, said: "I am heartened that SRC will scale up its humanitarian services to empower more people with life-saving skills, and to strengthen community resilience... The new building will provide more resources and opportunities for people to embrace volunteerism and philanthropy in their humanitarian endeavours."

SRC's community services include the Community-Led Action for Resilience programme, which trains and mobilises volunteers to be first responders to provide first aid and befriending services in their neighbourhood. It also runs a residential home and day activity centre in Lengkok Bahru for people with severe and multiple disabilities.

Housewife Nuraini Mohd Noor, 47, who sends her 22-year-old son to the Lengkok Bahru centre five days a week, was glad to know of SRC's plans for a new centre in the city. She said:"I live in Choa Chu Kang, so having a centre in the city would be more convenient. It'd also be good for my son to see more of the city environment."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2016, with the headline 'Plans for new building for Singapore Red Cross'. Print Edition | Subscribe