1,160 needy families receive vouchers from Nee Soon GRC social enterprise

Nee Soon GRC MP and Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam posing for a photo with a resident at a lunch event at MPC @ Khatib.
Nee Soon GRC MP and Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam posing for a photo with a resident at a lunch event at MPC @ Khatib.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - Some 1,160 less well-off families in Nee Soon GRC received $200 in FairPrice vouchers on Sunday (April 28) from a social enterprise in the community.

The funds came from the surplus of around $250,000 earned by FutsalArena @ Yishun. The enterprise has been running sports facilities like futsal and basketball courts at Nee Soon Sports Centre since 2016.

At a lunch event at MPC @ Khatib, Nee Soon GRC MPs K. Shanmugam, who is Law and Home Affairs Minister, Associate Professor Faishal Ibrahim, who is Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development and Education, Lee Bee Wah and Louis Ng presented the residents with the vouchers.

Mr Shanmugam told reporters at the event that the "kampung spirit" in Yishun is very strong and that has helped the MPs build up many micro-communities to help different groups of residents, going beyond large government projects.

"Our grassroots and MPs must identify their needs, and the needs are not one-size fits all," he said. "Some are health related, some want to pursue further fulfilment, (there are) different age groups, so you need to target. Parents of young children have different needs from, say, people in their 70s or 80s, cancer support groups have different needs from kampung wellness groups.

"You try and cater across (different groups) and that's the way you build the relationships and bonds and the links within the community."

In a speech at the event, Mr Shanmugam also assured Pioneer and Merdeka Generation seniors that there are many schemes to help them cope with the cost of living.

"We know that our seniors have contributed a lot to our country. We will take care of you," he said, highlighting support for healthcare costs, long-term care and mobility aids, as well as income supplements.

Older workers earning less than $2,000 a month can receive up to $6,640 a year from the Government, for example.

The Bicentennial Bonus announced in this year's Budget will also give lower-income Singaporeans up to $300 in cash.

FutsalArena deputy general manager Syed Mohamed Alkhairid said it has operated with the goal of giving back to the community in mind.

Besides offering special rates to residents, schools and students, "we plan to use a large portion of the surplus from our operations to help needy Nee Soon residents", he said.

One such resident is Mr Foo Yong Yoke, 83, a widower who lives alone with two dogs in his three-room flat.

He said he was grateful for the vouchers as he has to rely on the Government for money for essentials. “I can use it to buy vegetables and fish to cook for myself,” he said.