New parenting support group launched at Teck Ghee

A baby carnival attended by PM Lee at the Yio Chu Kang Community Club on Saturday (Aug 5).
A baby carnival attended by PM Lee at the Yio Chu Kang Community Club on Saturday (Aug 5).ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launches the Parenthood Network Group at the Yio Chu Kang Community Club on Aug 5, 2017.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launches the Parenthood Network Group at the Yio Chu Kang Community Club on Aug 5, 2017. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Parents with babies in Teck Ghee ward now have a new support group to turn to for help.

The People's Association has formed a new parenting support group to help young parents at the ward, which is part of Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency helmed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The support group "Embracing PArenthood @ Teck Ghee Network Group" has a Facebook page, and activities such as parenting workshops are in the pipeline.

It was launched on Saturday (August 5) at a baby carnival attended by PM Lee. Held at the Yio Chu Kang Community Club, the carnival drew about 200 families and their babies.

Close to 400 babies were born to families in Teck Ghee since 2016, including eight pairs of twins and one set of triplets, said Mr Lee at the event.

The constituency with the most number of newborn babies in Singapore is Sengkang West, he noted.

"Actually some of the Sengkang West babies may be Teck Ghee grandbabies," Mr Lee added, drawing laughter from the audience.

Sengkang West Single Member Constituency holds the record of having the most number of babies born in a SMC or division in a GRC in 2016.

Its MP Lam Pin Min earlier said on Facebook that 1,284 babies were born there last year.

The single-seat ward shares common boundaries with Ang Mo Kio GRC, and its residents are served by the Ang Mo Kio Town Council.

Some 33,161 Singaporean babies were born last year, about 600 fewer than in 2015. The dip pulled down the country's total fertility rate (TFR) to 1.20 from 1.24 in 2015.

The TFR measures the average number of children per woman. Singapore's TFR is well below the 2.1 rate a population needs to achieve to replace itself.

At the baby carnival on Saturday, Mr Lee conducted a lucky draw and presented prizes to winners of a photo competition. He also gamely carried more than 40 babies.

One of those babies was seven-month-old Hailey Thong. Hailey's mother Madam Jade Hui said that she has found the new informal parent support group to be helpful.

"It helps us know where the nearby facilities such as schools and clinics are," said the 28-year-old homemaker who moved into Teck Ghee three months ago with her husband, civil servant Gerald Thong, 30.

For the support group to work, it has to give "more focused" help to parents, said project manager Cheryl Wee.

The 38-year-old, who gave birth to premature twins Ethan and Elise a year ago, said she is already a member of an online support group for parents with twins and triplets who are born premature.

While she did not join the new support group, she said: "If there are any parents with premature babies in Teck Ghee who needs help in the future, I will be very glad to help."