Boon Lay joins 16 other constituencies in launching network for young parents

Boon Lay grassroots adviser Patrick Tay speaking to parents at the launch of the Embracing Parenthood Celebrations programme in Boon Lay on July 9, 2017.
Boon Lay grassroots adviser Patrick Tay speaking to parents at the launch of the Embracing Parenthood Celebrations programme in Boon Lay on July 9, 2017. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - Starting from Sunday (July 9), 578 families in Boon Lay will benefit from a free programme meant to provide young parents with parenting advice and community support.

Boon Lay constituency is the 17th and latest to join the Embracing Parenthood Celebrations programme organised by the People's Association.

The estate welcomed 578 new-borns in 2016 and another 218 in the first five months of 2017.

First rolled out in April by Bishan North for their residents, the eight-month programme consists of a series of events, such as workshops and talks by experts.

Mr Patrick Tay, adviser to Boon Lay grassroots organisations, explained the aim of the programme: "This is not just a once-off event to give out gifts, but the more important thing is to create a network to provide mutual support for young parents and to share best practices, such as different methods for feeding a child."

The West Coast GRC MP launched the programme at Jurong Point on Sunday afternoon (July 9). It is the first constituency to have it in a shopping mall, in a bid to attract more families to participate.

The launch comes on the back of a release of results from the latest Marriage and Parenthood Survey on Saturday (July 8).

It showed that of nearly 3,000 singles aged 21 to 45, 59 per cent were not currently dating seriously with a view towards getting married.

Compared to a similar survey five years ago, fewer younger singles - those between 21 and 35 years old - are planning to remain single.

Eighty-three per cent indicated that they intend to marry, a slight dip from the 86 per cent in 2012.

Mr Tay - who has three children aged seven, 10 and 13 - highlighted impediments that might hold couples back from having children. These includes a lack of workplace and community support, and the rising costs of having children.

"Ultimately the decision whether to have kids is up to each couple's personal values, but the programme can at least help with increasing community support. For instance, if a parent is too busy to take his child for a jab, maybe a neighbour who is also a parent can help," he said.

More than 50 families turned up for the launch. Other than talks by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) on topics like weaning and baby nutrition, parents also took part in a song and dance segment with their babies.

Chemical analyst Teoh Yang Han, 41, who has two children aged five and one, plans to join the programme.

"I already learnt more about how it might be better to give a child enriched iron solid foods after six months, so I'm looking forward to learning more, and to find more playmates for my children."