PM Lee lays out the ABCs of grassroots work

Residents' Committees Convention

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has spelt out what the Residents' Committees (RCs) need to do: ABC. A is for adapting to residents' changing needs and keeping RC activities relevant and engaging.

B is for bridging residents and the Government, helping to explain and implement policies, and conveying feedback. And C is for connecting residents with one another.

As an example of the bridging role that RCs can play, Mr Lee spoke of how grassroots volunteers can help older Singaporeans understand and benefit from the Pioneer Generation Package announced in this year's Budget.

Speaking at a Residents' Committees Convention on Saturday, he said these groups of volunteers, who operate in housing estates islandwide, can communicate the Government's strategies in simpler terms and help residents to apply for assistance programmes. The convention is being held to take stock of the RCs' progress since they were set up in 1977.

The Government, Mr Lee told the volunteers, cannot and should not do everything, so members of the community must support each other.

RCs have helped to tackle community issues such as littering and noise pollution, and have been distributing masks on hazy days. In emergencies, they can coordinate local resources to complement the official response. He mentioned the Marsiling Road fire last July, where RC volunteers helped evacuate elderly residents before the police and civil defence team arrived.

"These are examples of how RCs can participate and build stronger communities together," he said.

To achieve this, RCs need a pool of dedicated leaders and new volunteers, including those who come from more varied backgrounds, to match an increasingly diverse resident profile.

He announced a new programme for RC office-bearers that will offer volunteers the opportunity to study communication and leadership skills.

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