SINGAPORE - Three welfare groups and an arts group will set up offices in a central mall at a discount, the latest beneficiaries of a scheme to provide space in commercial buildings for community use.
They are among 58 groups that have gained from the Community and Sports Facilities Scheme (CSFS) since its launch by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in 2003.
Most are voluntary welfare organisations (VWO), such as the Breast Cancer Foundation Singapore, Life Community Services Society and Touch Community Services. These three will be moving soon into Kallang Leisure Park. The latest of 25 commercial buildings under the scheme, the Kallang mall will also host Wild Rice, the theatre company.
The four groups will occupy 20,000 sq ft of space on the mall's fourth level. Renovation is ongoing and the spaces are slated to be ready by end-June.
Mr Edmund Wong, general manager of Touch Community Services, said the new premises will help save operational costs and provide better accessibility for its clients. "The centre will also attract users of the shopping mall who may drop in to inquire about our family programmes," he said.
For Life Community, a charity that reaches out to mainly disadvantaged children, youths at risk and caregivers, its new space will be bigger than its current one at Hougang and have facilities such as counselling rooms.
"As of now, our counsellors have to travel islandwide to conduct activities for children and youth under void decks or informal places," said its chief executive officer Lam Moi Kwai.
"Having space at a central location will allow us to... run various programmes for our beneficiaries without worrying about a venue."
URA encourages commercial buildings to offer spaces for community and sports uses, such as for public libraries and childcare services. In return, it grants them bonus gross floor area (GFA) of up to 2,000sq m, or 10 per cent of total GFA, whichever is lower.
The spaces are usually offered by the commercial buildings at a discount or sometimes for free. The National Council of Social Services (NCSS) works with "willing landlords" of commercial buildings to offer space to member VWOs rent free, but things such as utilities still apply.
A spokesman for Kallang Leisure Park declined to reveal the rents for the four groups but said that its rents and charges follow the scheme's guidelines.
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