SMRT, Community Chest launch $30-million fund to help elderly commuters, people with disabilities

At the fund's launch are (from left) Mr Gerard Koh, SMRT chief corporate officer, Mr Desmond Kuek, SMRT president, Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Hsieh Fu Hua, National Council of Social Service president, Mr P
At the fund's launch are (from left) Mr Gerard Koh, SMRT chief corporate officer, Mr Desmond Kuek, SMRT president, Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Hsieh Fu Hua, National Council of Social Service president, Mr Phillip Tan, National Council of Social Service vice-president.ST PHOTO: SHAYNA TOH

SINGAPORE - SMRT has partnered Community Chest to launch a $30-million fund on Wednesday (Aug 16) to help elderly commuters and travellers with disabilities.

The $30-million sum is donated by SMRT, marking the transport operator's largest-ever donation to a charitable cause. Community Chest, the fundraising and engagement arm of the National Council of Social Service, will help find suitable organisations to which the fund's donations can go to.

The fund, called the Gift Of Mobility Fund, aims to help senior citizens and people with disabilities by starting programmes which will improve their welfare and ensure that they can stay on the move.

Some projects which will benefit from the fund include an inclusive playground meant for children with special needs and it will be built at St Joseph's Home. SMRT hopes this playground will promote interaction between these children and other residents in this nursing home for the elderly.

SMRT is also looking to sponsor specially equipped vehicles that can transport wheelchairs, and partner with the Singapore Red Cross for a "Clinic on Wheels" programme to make physiotherapy services more accessible to the elderly.

The fund is the latest initiative in SMRT's Gift Of Mobility programme, which was conceived in 2008 to provide financial assistance to people with physical disabilities or require financial assistance. The programme typically gives its beneficiaries either free or subsidised taxi rides when they go to hospitals for medical treatment or when they seek employment.

Encouraged by the corporate organisations that are giving back to the community, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said at a dinner where the fund was announced: "It is important that as we strive for growth and development, we continue to look out for the elderly and the less fortunate amongst us."