Facilities for children top priority in Punggol West, says MP Sun Xueling

Children study in the study corner in Punggol West on Oct 12, 2016. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Pasir Ris-Punggol MP Sun Xueling speaks with children at the container library in Punggol West on Oct 12, 2016.
Children at the container library in Punggol West on Oct 12, 2016. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - A temporary library and a study room for children and teenagers opened in Punggol West this month.

But Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Sun Xueling, who takes care of the area, is pushing for more amenities and activities for her constituents, most of whom are young parents, she said as she outlined her plans for the estate on Wednesday (Oct 12).

On the cards are a toy library for toddlers, as well as children-centric activities such as storytelling sessions run by stay-home mothers.

Ms Sun was speaking to reporters ahead of a community visit by Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu on Oct 23.

She said children and education matters are top concerns of residents, adding that this is "reasonable given the age profile of Punggol West".

She also said residents wanted the amenities "sooner rather than later". This was why she has set up the temporary library and study room while a public library and a community club are being built.

Of the 34,700 residents in the estate, 65 per cent are under 40 years old. About 14 per cent of the residents are below 14 years old.

Ms Sun said six in 10 of the Housing Board flats in the estate were built in the last five years, and are mostly owned by young families.

This is why her focus is on introducing initiatives for the young, said Ms Sun.

With the library and study room up and running, efforts are now underway to round up a group of "community mums" - housewives who have experience caring for children - to help look after children using the facilities and lead activities such as story-telling and arts and craft, she added.

The MP is also working with government agencies to ensure sufficient childcare and pre-school places when the number of residents in Punggol West hits the forecast number of 46,000 by 2020.

For a start, two childcare centres with a total of 360 places will open next year.

With the Government encouraging young parents to have children, it is important to ensure the supporting infrastructure is in place, she said.

"Given the demographic in Punggol West, this is something we have to work on," she added.

Madam Imelda Lock, 36, who has three children, has volunteered for the "community mums" initiative. She lives near the study room at Block 209B, Punggol Place, and heads down to supervise the children when she is free.

Her two older children in Punggol Green Primary use the study room for revision and to complete their homework too.

"I like to socialise and I enjoy volunteering and spending time with kids. Ms Sun said there will be more activities for children coming up and I'm quite excited to help out as a volunteer," added Madam Lock.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.