New scheme lets disadvantaged people visit Gardens for free

SINGAPORE - Disadvantaged people will be able to visit the Gardens by the Bay for free under a new community outreach programme by the mega park.

Called Gift of Gardens, it taps money from a fund to sponsor these visits. It was launched on Tuesday by National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

He accompanied 20 children from the Down Syndrome Association (DSA) and their caregivers as they visited the two conservatories - the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest - as part of the programme.

Gift of Gardens is for people "who are normally not able" to go to the Gardens, said Gardens by the Bay chief executive Tan Wee Kiat. "Maybe they need special assistance, or the admission charge prevents them from coming into the domes."

He hopes to reach out to 1,000 beneficiaries every year through the programme.

For Singapore residents, a visit to the two conservatories costs $20 for an adult and $12 for a child. The Gardens are barrier-free.

When patients from the National University Hospital's Shaw-NKF Children's Kidney Centre visited two weeks ago, a room usually rented out for events was set aside to store medical supplies and dialysis machines in case of emergencies.

DSA chairman Monica Lim said: "Public spaces welcoming all persons with different needs is something to be encouraged."

Dr Tan is appealing for sponsorship of the fund, which now has $218,000. The money has been raised through partnerships with sponsors such as Tuas Power. There is no target amount to meet for now.

Those interested in taking part in the Gift of Gardens programme, either as a sponsor or beneficiary, can e-mail:

giftofgardens@gardensbythebay.com.sg


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