Singapore Press Holdings and charity arm, SPH Foundation, donate $350,000 to 20 social service organisations

Dr Lee Boon Yang (left), chairman of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and its charity arm SPH Foundation, presenting a cheque to Mr Eric Ang, vice-chairman of Community Chest, at the Singapore Conference Hall on July 31, 2018. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - For over 20 years, Sage Counselling Centre has been offering a listening ear to the needy elderly as well as their loved ones.

These counselling sessions provide the seniors with a platform to share concerns about their physical and mental health, loneliness and difficulties they face in their relationship with their family.

The centre also provides a hotlinefor the elderly to share their problems through its tele-counselling and tele-befriending services.

On Tuesday (July 31), Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and its charity arm, SPH Foundation, donated $350,000 to 20 social service organisations, including Sage Counselling Centre, which received $10,000.

Mr Wong Lit Shoon, 60, the centre's executive director, said: "Through this funding and donation, we hope to provide better resources to benefit more clients in the community and allow them to receive psycho-social support."

The donation is part of SPH and SPH Foundation's yearly efforts to support charities serving disadvantaged families, senior citizens as well as special needs students.

The cheque presentation was held on Tuesday at the Singapore Conference Hall with over 130 guests in attendance, including beneficiaries and caregivers from the 20 social service organisations.

Of the donated sum, $150,000 will go towards the Special Education Financial Assistance Scheme to aid more than 1,500 special needs students from low-income families.

Ten charities serving the elderly and disadvantaged families will receive $10,000 each from SPH, while the remaining $100,000 from SPH Foundation will go to 10 charities serving underprivileged children and the disabled.

Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities, Lions Befrienders Service Association and the Rainbow Centre are among the benefactors.

This year's presentation was held in conjunction with an SPH Gift of Music lunchtime concert featuring local group The Teng Ensemble.

During the event, they performed medleys of popular hits, including Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng's Tian Mi Mi (Sweet As Honey) and The Moon Represents My Heart.

Dr Lee Boon Yang, chairman of SPH and SPH Foundation, was guest of honour. He presented the $350,000 cheque to Mr Eric Ang, vice-chairman of Community Chest, who received it on behalf of the social service organisations.

Sage Counselling Centre plans to use the money for its counselling services as well as other programmes for seniors.

This includes its Expressive Therapeutic Group Work, which makes use of activities such as art to get seniors to express themselves through the pieces they create instead of words.

Mr Wong said: "A lot of these seniors may be depressed and lonely, but do not actually share their concerns with us... Through this funding, we hope it will allow us to continue to provide such services to enable seniors to come out and share their actual issues and feelings with us."

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