New initiative to consolidate various social services

New initiative to consolidate various social services

A community safety net to help vulnerable groups could work through a consolidation of the various types of social services here.

Residents of Marine Parade could get this as soon as next year, said Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong last Friday night.

What he currently calls the WeCare initiative will function as "an integrator, aggregator and distributor of services".

Independent of the People's Association and family service centres, who may join as partners, it is likely to have key staff and social workers to help people see whether they qualify for assistance and direct them to the right service providers.

"What I want to do in Marine Parade is to weave a community safety net to catch old people who may need help," said Mr Goh, who is also MP for Marine Parade GRC.

These include vulnerable elderly, especially those who are not active, as well as people with special needs, vulnerable families who risk being caught in the poverty trap, and people who need public assistance.

About one in three residents in his ward are over the age of 65.

Mr Goh, who was speaking at the fifth anniversary celebrations of the MacPherson Wellness Programme at MacPherson Community Club, said there is a need to be more proactive. "Sometimes people do fall between the cracks. The purpose of WeCare is to be proactive... Those who stay at home we don't know who they are, and there are people at home who need help."

He hopes to see social workers working in partnership with grassroots leaders who live within the community and know the residents who need help, to extend the delivery of "last mile services".

Business and corporations in the area are also likely to come on board to provide more help.

Mr Goh said if the pilot project in Marine Parade is successful, he will work with other interested wards to share his experiences.

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