Making malls more family-friendly

Making malls more family-friendly
MSF Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling visited Compass Point Shopping Centre yesterday to express support for the mall's efforts in creating a family-friendly environment. She also announced the enhanced grant.

SINGAPORE - Nursing rooms, wheelchair rentals and family carpark spaces could become commonplace in neighbourhood malls soon.

The Government is giving the managements of heartland malls more funding to introduce such family-friendly features.

From Oct 1, these malls can claim a one-off grant of up to $200,000 to spend on pro-family features under the FamilyMatters @Business grant.

This is four times the current limit of $50,000, which has been available since April last year. More than 50 businesses have successfully applied for the grant since its launch.

Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling announced the enhanced grant at Compass Point Shopping Centre yesterday.

She said that malls had given feedback that the $50,000 funding allows them to implement family-friendly initiatives only "on a piecemeal basis".

The grant covers infrastructure, amenities and services that offer safety, convenience and fun to families, especially those with young children and elderly or disabled family members.

These include having non-slip floors, ramps and wider corridors, which will benefit families with strollers or those with wheelchairs.

Ms Low said: "Family-friendly malls not only attract customers, they also contribute to family life in Singapore. It's a win-win outcome for everyone."

MSF will also launch a programme next year to train mall managers and front-line staff to serve families better.

A spokesman for Punggol Plaza, Mr Edward Heng, said the increased funding is "definitely very good".

The mall currently does not have any nursing rooms.

"We will study the grant in greater detail to see how we can tap it," he said.

Marketing engineer Bonny Zhang, 30, who has a two-year-old son, said she hoped more malls will have nursing rooms on every floor.

"If nursing rooms are costly to build, maybe malls can just provide more hot water dispensers," she said.

This article was first published on September 23, 2014.
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