Singapore's first community club with its own hawker centre and family medicine clinic (FMC) was officially opened yesterday.
All 40 stalls at the Ci Yuan Community Club in Hougang Avenue 9 sell at least two food items at $2.80 or less, and a section is open 24/7. The Hougang FMC, with a range of services for those needing regular treatment for chronic ailments, will also have evening clinics from Mondays to Thursdays until 9.30pm.
The four-storey, 6,000 sq m club also has a 500-seat theatre with digital sound and light equipment, dance and cooking studios and a karaoke joint, while a senior care centre will open at year-end.
These facilities were put in place based on feedback from residents, said the People's Association, which runs 107 community clubs and centres nationwide and has sought to make them relevant to residents as their needs evolve.
The club was opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who spent two hours touring the building, making mooncakes with residents and viewing a dance performance by a fitness group.
Such clubs, Mr Lee told residents, aimed to foster a closer community by allowing them to take part in activities together and bond. He said: "If we can do that with the community club then the money and effort is well spent and we will have a happy Ang Mo Kio-Hougang and we will have a happy Ang Mo Kio GRC."
The club is in Ang Mo Kio-Hougang ward in the GRC. Said MP Darryl David: "The Ci Yuan Hawker Centre will feed the stomach, (and) our Multi-Purpose Performing Arts Theatre will serve up cultural and entertainment treats to feed the soul."
PM Lee and Mr David were joined by fellow Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Gan Thiam Poh, Sengkang West MP Lam Pin Min, and former Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Yeo Guat Kwang.
Mr Lee thanked Mr Yeo, who was in charge of Ang Mo Kio-Hougang when construction of the club started in 2013. The veteran backbencher led a team to contest the opposition-held Aljunied GRC in the Sept 11 General Election and came close to winning it back for the PAP.
Mr Lee had, at his National Day Rally last month, cited the hawker centre in Ci Yuan Community Club as part of the Government's efforts to keep the cost of eating out affordable. It is the first of 20 new hawker centres to be built over the next 12 years. The club's hawker centre is run by a social enterprise subsidiary of Fei Siong Food Management.
Mr Lee rounded up his visit at the Hougang FMC, which expects to see about 10,900 visits from some 3,200 patients, 80 per cent with chronic illnesses, in its first year.
Consultation fees start from $50 for those with chronic conditions. Those on the Community Health Assist Scheme or from the Pioneer Generation enjoy subsidies.
Housewife Janet Koh, 43, said she had not signed up for any programmes yet but was keen to do so. "The cooking classes and fitness sessions look quite interesting. The building is big and impressive so I'm sure it'll attract a lot of residents to take part in activities," she said.