North West CDC's three-year target: 8,000 volunteers

North West CDC's three-year target: 8,000 volunteers
North West CDC has helped 30,000 needy residents through its various aid programmes such as its Tingkat Scheme.

SINGAPORE - Over the last three years, North West Community Development Council (CDC) has helped 30,000 needy residents through its various aid programmes.

Within the next three years, it hopes to do more by doubling its volunteer strength to 8,000 and adding 120 more monthly corporate donors to its current pool of 380. "With more volunteers coming forward to do projects in the community, we can encourage ownership among our residents," said Dr Teo Ho Pin, mayor of North West District and head of the mayors' committee.

He was speaking to reporters at a North West CDC ceremony held at Orchid Country Club last night to thank outgoing members and welcome new ones.

The plans he outlined at the dinner come in response to PM Lee Hsien Loong's recent call for mayors to marshal resources in the wider community - such as involving the private sector more - so as to meet changing needs.

Dr Teo said the CDC is relying on one key strategy to get more volunteers and corporate donors on board: converting some of the 800,000 participants who take part in its weekly community activities, like gardening and sports, to become volunteers instead.

"It's a different dimension, turning from someone who is benefiting from the community to someone who is empowered to give back to the community by running projects," he said.

For example, he persuaded 65-year-old Madam Kho Hwee Chin three years ago to adopt a more active lifestyle by taking up dancing. She was reluctant at first, doubting whether she would be able to pick it up at her age.

Today, she teaches dancing to around 240 people every week.

"I find it meaningful to volunteer in this manner because these are housewives and retirees who used to coop themselves up in their flats," said Madam Kho. "Now they have bonded and are reaching out to help one another."

Dr Teo said finding more platforms for residents to bond is one of the council's immediate priorities. Yesterday's ceremony also saw 73 district councillors appointed to a three-year term.

This article was first published on July 4, 2014.
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