A new bursary targeting the elderly from lower income groups in the South West District was launched on Wednesday.
Called the South West Active Ageing Bursary, the $600,000 bursary will be disbursed to some 3,000 elderly residents from the district over the next three years.
Elderly people living within the Chua Chu Kang, Jurong and West Coast GRCs, as well as the single seat constituencies of Hong Kah North, Pioneer and Yuhua are eligible for the bursary.
The bursary, which was launched by Mayor of South West District Amy Khor, is aimed at encouraging the elderly to embrace lifelong learning and lead a healthy lifestyle, and promoting greater social interaction among them.
Each beneficiary must be above 60 years old and be a blue Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) card holder, among other criteria. Successful applicants will each receive $200 worth of vouchers every year.
These vouchers can be redeemed when they sign up for courses at community clubs or those run by Residents' Committees. The courses include cooking classes, wellness programmes and music lessons in Chinese instruments such as the guzheng, a string instrument.
Typically, the courses cost between $20 and $80 for about eight sessions. With the $200 bursary, beneficiaries would be able to take part in at least one such course every quarter.
Retired forklift driver Lee Ngak Wee, 76, said he is looking forward to participating in exercise and Chinese opera classes. He said: "Now I can register for courses and activities that I have always been interested to attend but never had the chance to sign up for because I prefer to save the money for other necessities."
As part of the requirements to qualify for the bursary, beneficiaries will also have to volunteer in at least three community events within a year of receiving the award.
"Such an engagement exemplifies active ageing, where the elderly can also reach out to help the more vulnerable and make positive contributions to the community," said Dr Khor, who is also Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower.
The bursary is co-funded by homegrown electronic components distributor Serial System, Taoist charity Zhi Zhen Tan Dao Xue Hui (Singapore) and the South West Community Development Council WeCare Fund.
Interested parties must apply by April 30. Application forms are available at community clubs within the district.