Neighbourhoods gain from projects under SG Cares Community Network

SINGAPORE - Over the past year, Xinmin Secondary School students have befriended elderly residents living alone or in nearby institutions, making regular visits to keep them company or lend them a hand around the house.

The initiative - and friendships - would not have happened but for an SG Cares Community Network Session, where various organisations came up with this plan, among others, to benefit the Hougang community.

In all, 19 community network sessions were held in HDB towns, wrapping up on Wednesday (July 3) with the final session - at least, for now - for Pasir Ris and Punggol.

Organised by the Social Service Offices (SSOs) and SG Cares Office, the sessions brought together government agencies, community stakeholders and volunteer groups in each town to discuss the needs of their community and initiate collaborations.

Following each session, the SSOs worked with agencies and groups to spearhead initiatives such as the befriending service in Hougang.

Since the programme began in May last year in Bedok, about 160 agencies and 3,500 people have participated in the sessions.

Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee hosted the final session on Wednesday at Punggol 21 Community Club.

He said the platform aimed to let organisations get to know each other better. "By bringing people together, we build relationships between the colleagues in the front-line agencies so that we enable more integrated and coordinated support for families that live in the very towns that we serve," he said.

The second round of SG Cares Community Network Sessions will commence by the end of this year.