PA expands football scheme for children

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Grace Fu kicking off one of the matches at last Sunday’s carnival. Looking on is PA chief executive director Ang Hak Seng (left, in red).

SINGAPORE - Children can soon go for football training by community sports clubs at more locations islandwide.

Fifty People’s Association (PA) community sports clubs will organise the PAssion Children’s Football programme by next year, more than double the 22 now. There are currently 87 such sports clubs here.

PA chief executive director Ang Hak Seng announced this yesterday on the sidelines of a carnival to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the programme.

Since 2004, close to 6,000 young people have participated in the scheme, which involves 11/2-hour-long weekly training sessions for children aged five to 12. The sessions are usually held at public or school fields.

From this year, the POSB PAssion Kids Fund – a partnership between the PA and POSB bank – will contribute about $170,000 each year to help the centres reach out to more children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Grace Fu said: “We want the kids from low-income families to feel that they can participate as well, just like any other person.”

She was the guest of honour at the carnival, which was held at a field near the PA headquarters in Jalan Besar. About 1,000 children and parents attended the event.

Mr Ang said the programme is also an opportunity to involve the children’s families. “It becomes a chance for families and the wider community to bond together on a regular basis,” he said.

Ryan Lew, seven, who joined the children’s football programme in 2012, for which his parents pay about $50 a year, said: “I enjoy the training as I get to stretch my muscles and develop teamwork skills.”

PRISCILLA GOY

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.