SINGAPORE - Singapore's second integrated community hub opened in Bedok on Sunday (Feb 4), bringing its sports centre, public library, community club, polyclinic and senior care centre under one roof.
Heartbeat@Bedok, which spans an area of about three football fields, also has more than 30 retailers, including eateries.
Noting that residents' lifestyles and needs have changed since Bedok Town was built over 40 years ago, East Coast GRC MP Lee Yi Shyan said on Sunday that the new building allows for more efficient use of land, and for joint-agency programmes to be provided to residents.
"The land freed up by relocating amenities would make room for new housing and new parks," he said, before the building was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. "In a mature town like Bedok, we are hard-pressed to find any open space to build new flats for young families."
About a third of the gross floor area of Our Tampines Hub, which opened last August, Heartbeat@Bedok houses the ActiveSG East Bedok Sports Centre, Bedok Public Library, Kampong Chai Chee Community Club, Bedok Polyclinic and a senior care centre.
This, the building also brings convenience to residents, said Mr Lee, who added that he hoped the hub would be a "national innovation laboratory" to pilot new services.
These could include telemedicine and the pairing of workout data with health statistics to track individuals' rehabilitation progress.
Various agencies there have rolled out an initiative called Heartbeat Cares, to reach out to seniors and their families through a series of health and wellness programmes.
Residents may be referred to the Active Health Lab – an initiative by Sport Singapore and its healthcare partners – to develop a personalised fitness regime. There are also weekly morning exercise sessions, health screenings and talks, as well as cooking demonstrations.
About 14 per cent of Bedok Town's 290,000 residents are over 65.
The aim is for the five agencies in the new building to partner one another for at least 40 per cent of their programmes and initiatives, to better meet the diverse and changing needs of residents, he said.
Although the coordination between agencies is done manually now, "we are looking into developing an app to automate these processes", he said.
Also present at Sunday's event were the other East Coast GRC MPs, People's Association deputy chairman Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim and Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor.
Bedok residents at Heartbeat on Sunday said they have already started using its facilities.
Housewife Lily Saeimaim, 47, who has been living in Bedok for eight years, said: "There were exercise facilities in the neighbourhood last time, but everything was farther away from each other and we had to take a bus to move around. It's more convenient now."
"The facilities here also have indoor areas, so we can use them even when it is raining," she told The Straits Times. "I now come here to play badminton thrice a week, and my husband uses the gym weekly as well. My 10-year-old son uses the swimming pool."
Engineer Johnson Lim, who is also 47, finds the reopened library more conducive for the young.
The father of two said: "There are more spaces for the children to sit and relax, and the colours are much brighter."
Features of Heartbeat@Bedok
1. ActiveSG East Bedok Sports Centre
- Four swimming pools with activities such as aqua spinning, which brings cycling into a swimming pool, as well as aqua zumba.
- A gym, six sheltered tennis court and eight badminton courts.
2. Second and largest Active Health Lab
- Residents can take part in a free hour-long programme to learn how to manage their health and fitness levels. They can take a fitness assessment and receive a personalised reading of their health parameters such as body fat percentage.
3. Reopened Bedok Polyclinic
- Team-based care allows patients to go back to see the same group of doctors and health professionals each time, to foster a stronger and trusting relationship.
- Self-service kiosks allow patients to cut waiting time, and a self-collection box is available for patients and caregivers to collect repeat medication.
4. Bedok Public Library
- The library, which has two floors, has an area catering to young readers as well as a teens' study area.
- Strong collection of Malay language reading materials.