Fostering a more caring, compassionate and inclusive society with Singapore Cares

In conjunction with Giving Week 2016 and the festivity of giving in December, the NVPC are initiating a movement to support the goodwill of Singaporeans and guide them to better help those in need.

Singapore, 23 November 2016 – Singapore Cares, a national movement to inspire more Singaporeans to care for one another, will be introduced at an event organised jointly by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) and National Council of Social Service (NCSS) on 30 November 2016. The chat, held during Giving Week, will feature Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development, as Guest-of-Honour. Volunteers from various causes and across sectors will also share their experiences in volunteering with non-profits, charities and communities. Their perspectives will add richness to the conversation on how different volunteering models have evolved over time. NVPC and NCSS are also calling for all Singaporeans to join the movement, and commit to caring for one another.

About Singapore Cares
Singapore Cares is a national movement dedicated to inspire more Singaporeans to get involved in helping one another and contributing to the common good. The genesis of Singapore Cares came about after the SGfuture engagement sessions that took place earlier this year. From the sessions, many concerned Singaporeans expressed their desire to do more for individuals and their families that need help. Singapore Cares hopes to find a way to harness the immense goodwill of Singaporeans, and also meet real needs.

NVPC, the national body that promotes volunteerism and philanthropy, and NCSS, the umbrella body for social service organisations, will champion Singapore Cares. They are supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Ministry of Health, other public agencies, grassroots organisations and corporate partners.

Designing ways for everyone to contribute and care
Volunteerism rate among individuals has grown over the years, with 1 in 10 volunteering in 2000, to 1 in 5 volunteering in 2014. While there are opportunities to do more, many Singaporeans may not know how. Individuals and corporate organisations may not be aware of the needs around them. In addition, there seems to be a shift in how people are offering help. There is more spontaneous, ground-up organising, but also a growing demand for regular and formal volunteering to support Singapore’s changing demographics. Charities and communities also need to work more closely together to achieve greater impact in shared causes.

Singapore Cares aims to bring together people and organisations who wish to make a difference, and provide them with access to information, know-how, partnerships and resources necessary to realise positive and sustained change around them. “Our role should be to support and empower the caring instinct in Singaporeans.” Melissa Kwee, CEO, NVPC.

Over the next year, under the umbrella of Singapore Cares, companies, social service organisations, schools and grassroots organisations, will come together to design ways in which they can contribute to caring, and sustain their contributions so as to make lasting changes in the lives of others, and causes that they believe in. Singapore Cares will also call on all Singaporeans to live the values of caring and kindness, and take the initiative to help others around us.

Focus on social causes
For a start, efforts will focus on social causes such as supporting vulnerable families, children and youth, seniors and persons with disabilities. The formal launch of Singapore Cares will be held in 2017.

“For the social service sector, which requires sustained support, the focus will be on bringing on-board organisations and building partnerships. It needs organised groups, from families, schools, companies and grassroots organisations, who can commit time and service for a longer and regular period. NCSS will coordinate and structure more group volunteering opportunities by causes to serve the needs of social service organisations,” said Ms Ng Ling Ling, Assistant CEO, NCSS.
Among the success stories of sustained volunteerism is Eastspring Investment and Life Community Services Society (LCSS), who were upfront on their need for a committed, long-term volunteering relationship. Their on-going three-year partnership has extended from regular outings with children served by LCSS to enabling the children, as volunteers themselves, to reach out and befriend a group of seniors at SASCO, a senior citizen’s home, located in the vicinity.
For Rainbow Centre (RC), serving children with special needs, a community of support was formed when they connected with a group of university students three years ago. To meet RC’s specific needs, the Nanyang Technological University Hall 4 students mounted an annual awareness and fundraising campaign at shopping malls. RC could also count on them for support during events and to accompany the children.

Equipping volunteers with knowledge to interact and work with beneficiaries is also critical for the partnership to last. NCSS, through Social Service Institute (SSI), its human capital and development arm, is piloting the first e-learning module ‘Working Effectively with Youths’ in December 2016 for volunteers. It is a part of SSI’s Education Innovation 2020 project to make learning accessible. Volunteers can learn at their own time and pace that fits their schedules through this 2-hour module, with content adapted from SSI’s classroom training. Other e-learning modules that NCSS will roll out over the course of next year will include ‘Working with Children with Special Needs’ and ‘Befriending the Elderly’.

Many companies are already givers in many ways. The Corporate Giving Survey 2015 conducted by NVPC and Community Chest found that 48% of the corporates surveyed had volunteering opportunities or programmes for employees. When asked why they gave, the number one motivation was a commitment to do good for the society.

Call to action – encouraging all Singaporeans to step forward
Following the event, there will be an open call for all Singaporeans to step forward, and care for one another. Giving and kindness can take many forms; spontaneous, informal or organised. From daily acts of kindness to volunteering together with friends, colleagues, neighbours and others – every action matters. Through Singapore Cares, everyone can play a part, big and small, to make Singapore a more caring and compassionate home for all.