Causes Week 2018: Full steam ahead for ironing group helped by Straits Times Causes Week

Retiree Lum Lili (left), 63,  a member of The Social Iron. Madam Lum joined the group after reading about it in The Straits Times in December 2017.
Retiree Lum Lili (left), 63, a member of The Social Iron. Madam Lum joined the group after reading about it in The Straits Times in December 2017.PHOTO: DARREN WONG
Mr Darren Wong, founder of the Social Iron, a programme that pays senior citizens for ironing clothes.
Mr Darren Wong, founder of the Social Iron, a programme that pays senior citizens for ironing clothes.ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

SINGAPORE - It started out as a social enterprise to help senior citizens with time on their hands to earn a bit of pocket money.

But now business is booming for The Social Iron - a programme which sees them paid $1.50 for every item of clothing they iron.

Since the group was featured in The Straits Times Causes Week last December, it now has 40 regular customers - four times as many as when it started.

It has expanded from six members to eight and has three delivery drivers.

From ironing about 100 items a week, the group now presses around 250.

The seniors do the ironing from the comfort of their homes in the east and north east regions of Singapore.

Retiree Lum Lili, 63, who joined the group after reading about it in The Straits Times, said that ironing gives her something to do during the day. The former bus interchange road master irons about 70 items of clothing a week. "Getting feedback from the customers who say that my ironing is excellent makes me happy."

 
 

Mr Darren Wong, 36, who founded the group, said: "We've had new customers come in since. More customers benefit the seniors who get more meaningful work to do."

Mr Wong is exploring how the programme can be further expanded.

Recently, the group collaborated with the SASCO Senior Citizens' Home, a charity that provides lodging and care for the elderly, including senior activity centres, in an effort to include more seniors.

With the partnership, the social enterprise now has a dedicated space at SASCO's Senior Activity Centre in Compassvale where they can train seniors who are keen to take part but may not be confident in their skills.

Causes Week returns this year for the seventh time, from Dec 17 to Dec 23. Anyone with a story or cause to share for the betterment of society can write in to be featured in The Straits Times.