Hawker training group has found a new home

Hawker training group has found a new home

Social enterprise and hawker trainer Project Dignity will be officially opening its new premises in Serangoon next month.

Since it was started in 2010, the group has helped to train more than 176 disabled Singaporeans. Of these, 92 were placed with jobs for at least two months and six started their own businesses.

Project Dignity also operates a food court that is staffed by people with mental and physical disabilities.

The social enterprise was appointed by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) earlier this year to teach hawker-related classes such as food hygiene and cooking lessons for chicken rice and noodles.

Executive director Koh Seng Choon said the group had to leave its current premises at Kaki Bukit because the landlord wanted to convert the space into a childcare centre.

Ascendas Funds Management, which manages the property, has said Project Dignity's two-year lease with no option to renew was made clear from the start.

The new venue in Serangoon Avenue 3 has a more central location but is slightly less than half the size, Mr Koh said.

"Instead of 14 food stalls in the original place, we can now only have seven stalls," he added. "I had to let go of some of the staff."

He said the new premises will not affect the WDA hawker training as class sizes are usually kept to 10 people at most.

Mr Koh said he has to plough in about $320,000 for the new premises.

This includes paying for the three-year lease and putting in partitions for the stalls.

Part of the funding will be met by an inheritance from his mother, who died a few months ago.

"I'm looking for things like second-hand air-conditioners and tables. Somehow it will work out," he said.

The social enterprise is having one last event for the elderly at its Kaki Bukit home on Oct 19.

The food will be prepared by the Singapore Chefs Association.

zengkun@sph.com.sg


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