Hope Collective initiative launched to bring together aid agencies in Kebun Baru

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong receiving a mosaic tile from resident Izam Zamah, 48, a beneficiary of a programme run by The Hope Collective group, at Kebun Baru Community Club, on Aug 26, 2018.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong receiving a mosaic tile from resident Izam Zamah, 48, a beneficiary of a programme run by The Hope Collective group, at Kebun Baru Community Club, on Aug 26, 2018.ST PHOTO: LIN ZHAOWEI

SINGAPORE - Needy and vulnerable residents in the Kebun Baru area of Ang Mo Kio will receive more targeted aid from a new initiative that brings together volunteers, welfare organisations and government agencies to collaborate and draw up helpful programmes.

The Hope Collective (THC) was launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mr Henry Kwek, adviser to Nee Soon GRC Grassroots Organisations (GROs), on Sunday (Aug 26).

Mr Kwek said the initiative, led by the Kebun Baru Citizens Consultative Committee, will see professionals and volunteers "come together at the same table" to identify the needs of these residents and help them.

Programmes include befriending socially isolated seniors, long-term mentoring for needy young families and talent development for children from lower-income families.

THC has 21 partner organisations, including the Health Promotion Board, Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association and the Agency for Integrated Care.

Mr Kwek said that THC is currently helping about 1,000 needy residents and has recruited roughly 200 volunteers.

During his visits to Kebun Baru, Mr Kwek observed that many people who were working to help residents were doing so "in isolation".

"The real power is when we all come together and we do integration, so that we can help families in different aspects," he said.

"So to make a difference in Singapore, I believe we cannot just come in with one single programme. It has to be a whole community led effort, touching different parts of the family. Then it becomes sustainable good work."

On Sunday, Mr Lee and Mr Kwek also officially opened the renovated Kebun Baru Community Club (KBCC), which serves 35,000 residents.

According to the People's Association, the new KBCC focuses on creating "a caring and inclusive Kebun Baru community" and features amenities for families and neighbours, such as lounge areas, rooftop barbecue pits, sports facilities and a senior care centre.

Also at the event were advisers to Nee Soon GRC GROs Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Social and Family Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim and Dr Lee Bee Wah - all of whom are MPs for Nee Soon GRC.