North West CDC to back 180 volunteer initiatives

North West CDC to back 180 volunteer initiatives
With Dr Teo and Mr Khaw (third and fourth from left) at the launch of the WeCare@North West Fund on Friday were (from left) Nee Soon GRC MP Patrick Tay, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Liang Eng Hwa, Nee Soon GRC MPs Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim and Lim Wee Kiak, as well as People's Association chief executive director Ang Hak Seng. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

The North West Community Development Council (CDC) will set aside $1.5 million over the next three years to support ground-up initiatives.

This was announced at the annual North West District Meeting held at Republic Polytechnic last night by the district's mayor, Dr Teo Ho Pin.

Named WeCare@North West Fund, the money aims to support 180 initiatives started by volunteers, which will benefit some 120,000 residents.

But the council wants to do more than just provide funding.

"The CDC will also extend project management expertise, aggregate community resources including finding suitable community partners to support all these ground-up initiatives," said Dr Teo.

The funding is in line with the council's aim to promote volunteerism among residents, said Dr Teo.

The council currently has about 2,500 volunteers who contribute towards its programmes.

"We aim to build the capabilities and capacities of our volunteers to empower them with the skills and knowledge required to run meaningful programmes for the community," he added.

For instance, the ComCare volunteers in the district attend workshops where they learn about various assistance schemes, referral procedures and befriending skills to help residents in need.

Dr Teo, along with grassroots advisers including Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan, had chaired a forum to gather ideas and feedback on building a caring and healthy community.

One project that has received support from the council is Project Bakewell Tart, initiated by 17-year-old student Hedyla Yap.

Hedyla wanted to form a team to organise activities for the elderly. The council provided the National Junior College student with funding, and connected her with Joy Centre Neighbourhood Link, a voluntary welfare organisation which helps the elderly.

Volunteers of Project Bakewell Tart regularly conduct outreach activities such as collecting old newspapers at the homes of the elderly to help minimise the risk of fire. They also organise birthday celebrations and Wii bowling competitions for the elderly.

Having little experience before starting the project, Hedyla said she initially felt "helpless".

"With support from Joy Centre and North West CDC, I feel more confident and motivated," she said.

"Project Bakewell Tart is not only about encouraging an active social lifestyle among the elderly, but it also serves to encourage more people to contribute their efforts towards a warm home where we care for one another in the community," she added.

leepearl@sph.com.sg


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