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Social Service Office at Bukit Merah works with partners to help needy residents

The Social Service Office at Bukit Merah started operations in December last year and it is already boosting efforts to help needy residents by collaborating with community partners.

SINGAPORE: The Social Service Office at Bukit Merah started operations in December last year and it is already boosting efforts to help needy residents by collaborating with community partners.

The office, which held its official launch on Friday, is the 10th Social Service Office to be launched to serve needy residents in HDB towns.

The Social and Family Development Ministry announced in 2013 it will set up about 20 such offices by 2016.

Since it opened, the Bukit Merah office has seen close to 2,700 people; of these, 1,500 applied for financial assistance, while others requested for help in areas such as finding a job or getting referrals to other help agencies such as family service centres.

The office is also collaborating with organisations in the vicinity such as SARAH Seniors Activity Centre, which comes under the Presbyterian Community Services.

R Jai Prakash, general manager at the Social Service Office at Bukit Merah, said: "The Social Service Office is actually in the midst of the HDB heartlands, in the midst of a rental cluster.

“For many of the residents who are living in the Jalan Bukit Merah area -- Lengkok Bahru, Redhill, Telok Blangah -- they will find it nearer to come to the Social Service Office at Bukit Merah. In terms of accessiblity, it's a lot more accessible.

"What we've realised is, in this neighbourhood itself, there are quite a number of elderly who are living by themselves. So we've also decided to come together, discuss with them to see what are some of the needs of these elderly that we may not be meeting today, and how best we can meet the needs of these elderly."

Laurence Wee, Presbyterian Community Services’ executive director, said: "We are working on an ongoing needs assessment survey to find out who are the really frail elderly that require help.

"Most of them who are able to come to our centres here, we know that they are well and okay. Those who are not able to come down, or in the recent months or weeks, they've not been coming down, our staff will go around to find out what has become of them, and to refer to the necessary agencies." 

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