HPB offers 'ambassadors' $500 grant

SINGAPORE -People who train to be "health ambassadors" will be able to apply for a grant of up to $500 a year to help them spread the gospel of better lifestyles.

The Health Promotion Board (HPB) is offering the money to its 4,000 ambassadors to turn their ideas into reality and is on the lookout to recruit more.

The grant can be spent on projects approved by the HPB that could include talks, cooking demonstrations and health screening recruitment drives.

Announced at a graduation ceremony for 700 health ambassadors at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) on Sunday, the grant will be awarded only to projects with a minimum duration of three months.

The HPB also announced that from next month, its health ambassador team leaders will be put through a two-and-a-half day leadership training course on decision making, programme planning and teamwork.

About 300 ambassadors become team leaders each year if they are found to have shown leadership ability and have contributed significantly to health promotion.

The HPB will also be funding the cost for selected representatives to complete a specialist diploma in Health Promotion at NYP - a part-time 300-hour course over a 12-month period. Upon graduation, the ambassadors will be asked to develop future volunteer-initiated projects.

The HPB hopes to recruit 100,000 ambassadors by 2020.

To help meet this goal, health-care giant Merck Sharp & Dohme and the Singapore Police Force have agreed to encourage their employees to sign up.

NYP is also working with the HPB to develop a general studies module in Health Promotion.

The polytechnic's 15,000 students can enrol in the module to learn health promotion skills and become ambassadors as part of the curriculum.

Minister of State for Health Amy Khor, guest of honour at the event and the HPB's chief health ambassador, said that the number of ambassadors is up four-fold from February.

"This is a testimony to the fact that people find this very meaningful," she said, adding that the grant would motivate ambassadors and encourage them to "grow ideas".

limjess@sph.com.sg

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