Volunteerism gains momentum in CapitaLand with 25,000 hours devoted to charity work year-to-date
CapitaLand Volunteer Day (CVD) launched in 2013 as flagship activity to boost volunteer participation among staff
Staff participation increases 25% to 250 volunteers for this year’s CVD
Reach expands three-fold to 150 children beneficiaries
Singapore, 21 November 2014– 250 senior management and staff volunteers from the CapitaLand Group have taken time off from work for its second CapitaLand Volunteer Day (CVD) today. CapitaLand Limited’s President & Group CEO, Mr Lim Ming Yan, flagged off the full-day, group-wide volunteerism initiative at Capital Tower this morning.
CVD was launched in Singapore on 15 November 2013 in conjunction with CapitaLand’s anniversary as a group-wide platform to spur the spirit of volunteerism among CapitaLand employees. CVD was extended to China on 28 June 2014, where more than 1,900 CapitaLand staff took part in the large-scale ‘Building for Tomorrow • Walk for Hope’ charity experiential walk across five Chinese cities.
CVD, together with various other volunteer activities organised by the Group, has helped CapitaLand cross the record-breaking 25,000 mark in volunteer hours rendered year-to-date for 2014. This is an almost 50% leap from the full-year volunteer hours of over 17,000 in 2013.
CapitaLand staff will be devoting more than 2,000 man-hours to today’s CVD through the Volunteer Service Leave - paid leave for staff to do volunteer work - taken by staff volunteers.
This year’s CVD in Singapore will take place at two children’s homes, Melrose Home (Children’s Aid Society) and PERTAPIS Children’s Home, in addition to the identified beneficiaries from 16 residential units under voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs). By working with these stakeholders, the initiative is reaching out to 150 children beneficiaries, an almost three-fold increase from last year.
Mr Lim Ming Yan, President & Group CEO, CapitaLand Limited, said: “We are extremely heartened that our efforts to spur the spirit of volunteerism in CapitaLand has gained marked momentum over the years. We have clocked in 25,000 volunteer hours year-to-date, a commendable 50% leap from 2013’s full-year numbers. This shows that more and more of our staff believe in our shared credo of ‘Building People. Building Communities.’.
“We hope our gift of an enhanced living and learning environment at CapitaLand Volunteer Day today will encourage our children beneficiaries to learn better and realise their full potential.”
“For a company to be successful, we need to have good people who are not just professionally competent but also have good character. At CapitaLand, we are committed to invest in staff volunteerism by offering three days of paid Volunteer Service Leave each year. Donations aside, we believe volunteering makes a difference not just to the beneficiaries, but to the volunteers as well. Volunteering gives our staff a certain perspective of their role in society beyond being a professional.”
CapitaLand staff volunteers have been divided into teams to carry out “makeover” refurbishment works at each of the children’s homes and residential units. Teams at children’s homes will paint walls and specially-designed mural art, as well as rearranging, repairing and assembling furniture to liven the environment. Teams at the residential units will carry out home improvement works including cleaning, organising, painting, improving light fixtures, as well as rearranging, repairing and assembling furniture to help keep the beneficiaries’ residential units less cluttered and more comfortable.
Before today, staff volunteer leaders put in extra hours to visit the CVD locations over weekends and after work to understand the beneficiaries’ living environment. They then spent weeks planning the work allocation for today.
Families from the 16 identified residential units will also be presented with desks, chairs, study lighting and fans to create a well-lit study area for their children to have a conducive learning environment. CapitaLand, through its philanthropic arm, CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF), identified the beneficiaries of the residential units under Beyond Social Services, Kampong Kapor Family Service Centre, REACH Community Services Society and Thye Hua Kwan Family Service Centre @ Tanjong Pagar.
CapitaLand is also bringing its Providing Educational Exposure for Kids (P.E.E.K) programme out of its properties to Melrose Home and PERTAPIS Children’s Home for the first time today. P.E.E.K is a fun-filled discovery trail at CapitaLand properties aimed at educating children on eco-friendly tips. At P.E.E.K trails at the children’s homes, children beneficiaries will learn about the ‘3Rs’ - (reduce, reuse, recycle), good personal hygiene and good dietary habits from CapitaLand staff volunteers, and participate in teambuilding games.
Mary (not her real name), mother of Jen (not her real name), a beneficiary of the CVD home improvement project, said: We are grateful to be a beneficiary of the CVD. My family is thankful that a new living environment is being created with CapitaLand’s assistance. The new environment after the makeover will be more comfortable for the family. With the creation of a study area, my daughter will have a more conducive learning environment which, in turn, will motivate her to do well in school.”
Barbara (not her real name), mother of Kelly (not her real name), another beneficiary of the CVD home improvement project, said: “We feel very happy to be a beneficiary of CVD and really appreciate CapitaLand helping my family. My daughter feels that the study table will be of great help because she used to do her homework on the floor, but after today, she will have a proper study table. It is nice for the kitchen and toilet to have a new coat of paint too. I am really thankful and hope that more families, especially their children, can receive such help in the future.”
Ms Chew Weiting, a second-time CVD staff volunteer, said: “CVD is a meaningful and enriching event where we can make a difference and bring happiness to families who need a helping hand. Seeing the beneficiaries with tears of joy at the end of last year’s CVD made me feel contented and eager to contribute to this worthy cause again. I told my colleagues how fun and memorable last year’s CVD was and convinced some of them to join me this year. I've also participated in the Group's Kids Food Fund outing, P.E.E.K trail and My Schoolbag programme, and I can truly appreciate the company’s credo of ‘Building People. Building Communities.’ through such volunteer activities.”
Volunteering for the first time at CVD, Mr Muhammad Fithri Daud, a CapitaLand staff volunteer, said: “I’m happy to take part in CVD this year. As a parent, it brings me joy to help other children in need. I hope our efforts will show the children that other people do care about them, so they should not lose faith in themselves. Group-wide initiatives like CVD, coupled with the three-day Volunteer Service Leave offered to employees, really shows the company is serious in its efforts to promote volunteerism among its staff. ”
Volunteer Service Leave
CapitaLand is a strong advocate of staff volunteerism. As the first company in Singapore to formalise a three-day Volunteer Service Leave system in May 2006, and subsequently Volunteer No Pay Leave and Volunteer Part-Time Work Arrangement, CapitaLand actively organised 307 volunteer activities in 2013 to encourage staff volunteerism.
In 2013, about 2,000 CapitaLand staff volunteered about 17,000 hours to participate in various volunteering activities in Asia and beyond. The overall staff participation rate is maintained at about 17%, unchanged from 2012. 1,645 days of Volunteer Service Leave were taken, translating to an estimated salary cost of over S$213,000 borne by CapitaLand. Surveys conducted after key volunteer events showed that 94% of the respondents feel proud to work for the company after volunteering, and 93% expressed that they enjoy working in the company as it has a positive and vibrant corporate culture.
As part of CapitaLand’s efforts to recognise and acknowledge staff’s social contribution as volunteers, CHF donates S$500 to a registered Singapore or China-based children’s charity of the staff’s choice when he/she has taken all three days of Volunteer Service Leave within the year. Eighty-nine staff qualified for this donation incentive for a total of S$31,600 donated by CHF in 2013.
CapitaLand Volunteer Day in China
Following the success of the inaugural CVD in Singapore last year, CHF organised a largescale ‘Building for Tomorrow • Walk for Hope’ charity experiential walk on 28 June 2014 in conjunction with ‘CapitaLand 20 Years in China’ celebrations. Over 3,000 people were involved as participants and volunteer crew members in the charity walks that took place concurrently across five key Chinese cities where CapitaLand operates – Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Wuhan.
Since its inception in 2005, CHF has donated over S$23 million to support programmes for the education, healthcare and shelter needs of underprivileged children up to 16 years old.
Please refer to Annex A for details of the children’s homes and voluntary welfare organisations CHF is supporting for CVD and Annex B for profiles of selected beneficiaries.
Melrose Home (Children’s Aid Society)
Children’s Aid Society is registered under the Societies Act and manages the Melrose Home. An Executive Committee is elected from among its members and is the governing body for the Home.
Children’s Aid Society is among the oldest philanthropic organisations in Singapore, having been formed in the late 1890s as the St Nicholas Home. Its present name was established in 1902.
Melrose Home provides a supportive environment for children between the ages of 3 to 18 years old, a "home away from home" for children and teenagers who need care and protection in a residential setting. These are children whose parents or family members are unable to provide care or to supervise them. Children of other ages are admitted under special circumstances as well depending on their needs.
The Home is situated in an elevated position with extensive grounds that include a playground, basketball court and football field. The 6,000 square metre property is owned by the Society.
The Home has the capacity to provide quality residential care for 40 children and 40 teenagers.
PERTAPIS Children’s Home
The PERTAPIS Children’s Home was established in 1991 as a gazetted home and a place of Safety under the Children and Young Persons Act. The home aims to provide a safe environment and a holistic developmental of the children. Children admitted are from the age of four to 12 years old.
The operation of the home is based on Guidelines on Standards of Care for Children Homes. The cases are those referred by the Juvenile Court, Family Service Centres or the Ministry of Social & Family Development (MSF).
The activities and programmes are developed to facilitate the development of the child’s physical, social, mental, educational and moral development needs. It ensures the children inculcate good daily habits and management skills through the following programmes.
Ensuring each child is given the opportunity to receive formal education and tuition support with his/her studies, especially in reading, Mathematics, Science and English language.
Preparing each child to be independent by teaching them social skills and character building stimulating and the imagination and creativity of each child and to help them heal and explore themselves within a safe and protective environment.
Providing each child with primary healthcare and teaching proper hygiene. Arts and music are used as an expressive therapy for troubled children who find these creative activities to be personally enjoyable and socially enhancing.
Inculcating each child with the essence of spiritual and moral values to build a strong and resilient character.
Voluntary Welfare Organisations
Beyond Social Services (www.beyond.org.sg)
Beyond Social Services is a charity dedicated to reducing delinquency among children and youths from less privileged backgrounds. It provides guidance, care, protection and resources that keep young people in school and out of trouble. We are currently operating in 5 different rental housing areas with a view of facilitating mutual help and a strong community spirit among residents. We believe that when more residents begin looking out for each other, their efforts will go some way towards creating a neighbourhood where children and youths are resilient against negative influences. Our teams are currently in a small part of Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Ho Swee, Henderson, Lengkok Bahru and Whampoa.
Kampong Kapor Family Service Centre
Kampong Kapor Family Service Centre serves in a community that has a large number of people residing in rental housings. It has proactively reached out to these residents in the community, especially families with multiple concerns, to better support them and build a community using a family-oriented approach with its core services: Information & Referral and Casework & Counselling. In response to residents’ needs and concerns, the FSC has also developed programmes that support the community for the children, elderly residents, young mothers and families with many school going children.
REACH Family Service Centre
REACH Family Service Centre is a one-stop professional social service agency commissioned by the Ministry of Social and Family Development to serve families and individuals residing in the Bishan, Sin Ming, Shun Fu and Thomson Community. We provide a comprehensive range of social and community services to help and support families through their life challenges. Since 1999, the Family Service Centre has reached out to and served more than 30,000 individuals through its range of services. Our team comprises professional social workers and counsellors who are committed to responding to the evolving needs of the people in our community by providing a listening ear and support.
REACH Family Service Centre is one of the community touchpoints of REACH Community Services Society, a charitable organisation and an approved Institute of Public Character.
Thye Hua Kwan Family Service Centre @ Tanjong Pagar
THK Family Service Centre @ Tanjong Pagar was set up in February 1991. Our centre has a committed team of professionals that aims to promote and strengthen the social well being of the family. We provide Family Focused Services which includes Information & Referral and casework & counselling. Our FSC also plan and develop programmes for the clients who are known to the FSC.
Our centre serves as a neighbourhood based focal point to serve low income families and individuals.
Jen (not her real name), seven, lives with her divorced mother in a one-room rented flat. Her mother, Mary, works as a cleaner to support herself and Jen. Mary’s unemployment situation has been unstable for three years due to her low education qualifications and caregiving of Jen. Jen has no proper study area, as Mary is unable to afford a study desk and chair for her. Jen would sit on the floor and do her homework on the coffee table. Jen wants to do well in her studies so that she can provide Mary a better life. Jen wants to attain at least polytechnic diploma qualifications and aspires to be a law enforcer in future.
Kelly (not her real name), 15, lives with her 16-year-old brother, mother and grandmother in a two-room rental flat. Her mother Barbara (not her real name) works as a school bus assistant in the day and continues to help out in the library from afternoon to night (ie. 4pm to 9pm). She is paid on an hourly basis and has been providing for her children singlehandedly after her divorce. Kelly has dyslexia, her brother was diagnosed with ADHD when he was young. He has however stopped taking medication as he started to lose weight. Barbara has always been trying to motivate both children to revise their schoolwork, and deeply desire that her children would not follow her footsteps of struggling to make ends meet with the limited income she earns monthly. Barbara hopes that a newly painted house, with a brightly lit study area will enhance her children’s motivation in their studies, aiding in furthering their education as much as they can afford.