His Excellency Mr Scott Wightman, British High Commissioner to Singapore,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good Work Done by HCSA
1. I am happy to see such strong support for HCSA this evening. Your generous contributions will bring hope to the lives of the beneficiaries.
2. HCSA started in 1996 as a halfway house for ex-offenders who were struggling with drug addiction.
- Today, HCSA's work has expanded. In addition to ex-offenders, HCSA also helps teenage girls and single parents.
3. One of HCSA's key initiatives is the Dayspring Residential Treatment Centre.
a. The Centre provides a caring, safe and structured environment for teenage girls.
- It houses teenage girls who have suffered the trauma of abuse and neglect.
- The girls undergo a comprehensive programme which helps them take control over their lives.
b. The Centre is also the first Therapeutic Group Home for teenage girls in Singapore, appointed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
- Therapeutic Group Homes help children and young persons with challenging behaviours heal from their past traumatic experiences and learn suitable coping skills.
- This would help them reintegrate well in the community.
4. Another HCSA key initiative is the SPIN programme – SPIN means Single Parents INformed, INvolved, INcluded.
a. SPIN is HCSA's new initiative for low-income single parents, especially unwed young mothers facing financial and housing challenges.
b. Since its launch in April 2017, SPIN has assisted 23 single parents.
- One of them is a single, unmarried mother – whom I shall refer to as "Jane".
- Jane's newborn had to be in the Intensive Care Unit for 5 months after birth. Medical bills were mounting. Jane was facing a lot of stress.
- Fortunately for Jane, she learnt about SPIN and was paired up with SPIN volunteers.
- They provided emotional support, assisted Jane to get essentials ahead of the baby's discharge from hospital, and connected her to resources that helped her pay her bills.
- SPIN also assisted Jane with her resume and interview skills so that she can get a job to meet her family needs.
c. To date, 33 volunteers have been paired up with SPIN clients.
- The support provided to these single parents have helped them gain better access to community resources, improved their ability to make well-informed decisions, and provided them with better socio-emotional support.
5. Success stories like that do not happen by chance.
- They are a result of your hard work, your commitment to maintain a programme of high quality, and your volunteers' dedication to a meaningful cause. You certainly have much to be proud of.
HCSA's Efforts to Help Ex-Offenders Reintegrate
6. Another area of work which HCSA has done very well is the outreach to ex-offenders in need.
a. I visited Highpoint Halfway House in December last year.
- Highpoint provides temporary shelter for ex-offenders and those in recovery from addictions. It was an insightful visit. I saw the challenging, yet rewarding work that you do.
b. Efforts are invested so that every ex-offender leave Highpoint a better person.
- 82% of the residents have secured jobs and remained employed this year.
- 92% found longer-term accommodation.
- I commend you on the positive impact you have made on their reintegration.
7. The reintegration journey for ex-offenders is a challenging one.
- They face many issues – family, housing, employment. But we, as a community, can play our part to support their journey.
- We can achieve much more when we work together to support ex-offenders and their families.
Importance of Employment in Reintegration
8. Enhancing ex-offenders' employment opportunities and employability is an area that we can work together.
- A steady income gives ex-offenders the opportunity and ability to stand on their own feet.
- However, efforts to enhance inmates' employability would be futile if employers do not offer jobs to inmates when they are released. Today more employers are supportive of our cause.
- More employers are also receptive to hiring ex-offenders.
9. While the support of employers is important, we need to ensure that ex-offenders have the skills to secure a job. HCSA understands this.
a. In the first quarter of 2018, HCSA will set up a Training Kitchen that trains ex-offenders, and beneficiaries of other VWOs.
- The Training Kitchen will equip them with the skills required to secure a job in the F&B industry.
- Graduates from the Training Kitchen will also be certified with Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ). This will put them in good stead on par with other job seekers.
10. We need the support of community partners like HCSA.
- Only by working together in close partnership can we enhance the chances of success of an offender's reintegration.
- It impacts the lives of not just the offenders but also their families. Let us continue to do our part for them.
11. I would like to congratulate HCSA on turning 21.
- Continue the good work that you are doing. To our volunteers and donors, thank you for giving the beneficiaries a future. I hope the donors can contribute generously to tonight's Fundraising.
12. I wish you all a splendid evening.