Lutheran Community Care Services opens new office in Bukit Merah

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee and Bishop Terry Kee (background) at the opening of the Lutheran Community Care Services office.
Minister for National Development Desmond Lee and Bishop Terry Kee (background) at the opening of the Lutheran Community Care Services office.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Bringing together disputing neighbours with professionals from community partners in order to have open and safe discussions - and mend relationships amid the pandemic - is no easy feat, but Lutheran Community Care Services (LCCS) used video-conferencing tools and made it happen.

LCCS has been active in turning its services digital amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

On Friday (March 19), LCCS unveiled its new office in Jalan Bukit Merah. Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration Desmond Lee, who is also the Minister for National Development, was in attendance.

The LCCS office used to be located in MacPherson Road.

Mr Justin Mui, LCCS executive director, shared how the non-profit organisation has utilised technology.

Project Restore, one of its initiatives, is a partnership with the State Courts since 2018. It aims to divert community disputes from the judicial process and offer an alternative restorative process to bring people together to mend relationships.

Project Restore went online last year with the use of video-conferencing tools.

Since the start of the initiative, LCCS has intervened in 24 cases, seven of which were withdrawn from the State Courts.

In 2020 alone, LCCS closed six cases, of which two were withdrawn from the State Courts.

Another LCCS initiative tapping technology is the Virtual Listening Circle, which was rolled out in April 2020.

Facilitated by trained staff, the service allows family members and friends to share any struggles they faced through a digital platform.

In his speech, Mr Lee said: "I am encouraged and grateful for the creativity and resilience of LCCS in innovating and going digital, and showing compassion amid the challenges brought by this pandemic."

(From left) Minister for National Development Desmond Lee speaking with LCCS board chairman Desmond Teo, LCCS executive director Justin Mui and Bishop Terry Kee on March 19, 2021. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

He noted that the pandemic has disrupted Singapore on many levels, including social service work.

"But it has also shown us a glimpse of the potential of partnerships between the community groups, social services, government agencies, corporates and the community, in uplifting Singaporeans in need," he said.

Mr Mui said that with the relocation of its office, LCCS intends to extend its restorative work to serve the needs of service users and communities in the Bukit Merah region.

"This will take the form of equipping community members to proactively serve as facilitators of community conversations to respond to issues in the community," he said.