SINGAPORE: Vulnerable youths, seniors and persons with disabilities (PWDs) may get stronger support as well as access to sporting programmes with the help of a new S$12 million fund by SportCares, the philanthropic arm of Sport Singapore.
Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu, who announced the Communities of Care Fund at this year's Inclusive Sports Festival, said this will go some way to improve their physical and socio-emotional wellbeing.
Under the fund, organisations that wish to design and develop inclusive sports-based programmes can tap on a starter grant to kickstart their project.
“The fund aims to support more ground-up initiatives; whether you are a volunteer group or a group of basketball players who want to extend the sport to at-risk youths. If you want to start something and don't know how to do that, to provide some basic amenities and facilities, the fund is there to support,” said Ms Fu.
Social enterprise Glyph, which focuses on helping youths from low-income or disadvantaged households, told CNA that the fund can also be used to expand its programme offerings.
“From squash to ice skating to rock climbing; it's really just giving these kids something they might not have experienced in school or might not (be able) to afford,” said Mr Shaun Wang, one of the directors of Glyph.
Mr Wang added that it could also be used to expand the group’s outreach efforts.
“Right now we are centrally located, and we want to get out to the northern, eastern and the western parts of Singapore, where there are not that many Voluntary Welfare Organisations that provide sports programmes for youths. We want to give them the opportunity to find something that they can be passionate about," he said.
Those in sports teams believe that the fund can help them get access to more training resources such as better equipment.
“We really struggled a lot with running the Wheelchair Rugby games - the training, the maintenance of chairs. Previously, we didn't have anything. But things have improved over the years,” said Mr Danial Bawthan, a member of the Wheelchair Rugby team.
“We do want to win some medals, we do want to throw ourselves out there and compete. But, you know, due to a lot of limitations, we are not really capable of doing it yet. If the money is properly budgeted and allocated to the key areas, then we will see growth," he said.
Part of the fund will be set aside for bursaries so that more can get equal access to sports programmes.
The initiative is expected to benefit more than 100,000 people by 2023.
This year’s Inclusive Sports Festival features more than 10 workshops and talks will touch upon various adapted and disability sport topics to help the public understand from the perspective of persons with special needs or disabilities.
One highlight is the Dialogue in the Dark experience, which allows participants to understand total vision loss.