Speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Appointment Ceremony of the 11th Central Singapore CDC Council on 25 September 2023.
Mayor Denise Phua, Mayor of Central Singapore District and Chairman of the Council, ladies and gentlemen, good morning to everybody.
I am very happy to join all of you to welcome the District Councillors who will be appointed in a few minutes’ time.
At the previous Council Appointment Ceremony three years ago, we were unable to meet physically, due to Covid. I am glad that today we can gather everyone here to celebrate the good work done by the CDC and the District Councillors.
Role of CDCs
CDCs are like regional offices and play a vital role at the district level: You work closely with grassroots divisions and social service agencies to aggregate residents’ needs – A for aggregate; you build resources, capabilities, and competencies so we have strong volunteer and donor networks to work with – B for build; you connect needs and resources together, and also serve as a bridge between residents and the Government – C for connect.
This mission to Aggregate, Build, and Connect, or ABC, may sound simple. But in fact, a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes to bring the community together. To care for the vulnerable, elderly and needy, to help residents upskill and stay relevant, and to push national priorities –these are the responsibility of the District Councillors who will be appointed here today.
Central CDC’s Contributions
The past few years have certainly been busy for Central CDC. I am glad to see how our Councillors, volunteers and partners have come together to introduce many impactful programmes to help residents live “The Better Life” – whether physically, financially, socio-emotionally or in lifelong learning, and in service to others.
Many of these are initiatives to support the less privileged. For example, the CDC partnered UOB to introduce the ‘My Digital Bootcamp’ programme, and partnered StarHub to launch the ‘Junior Stars’ programme. Close to 10,000 children from disadvantaged backgrounds now have greater access to learning opportunities and are picking up future-ready skillsets.
Under ‘Give and Take Markets’, over 50 partners have contributed essential items and services, so that more than 3,500 vulnerable families with school-going children in Jalan Besar GRC can shop for free and lighten their cost of living.
Under the ‘Silver Homes’ programme, the CDC’s partners helped to improve the living conditions in senior citizens’ homes.
Central CDC also furthered meaningful causes in your district. Central organised Sustainability Workshops to foster a Better Environment. I have participated in some of these workshops with my residents at Teck Ghee division.
Last year, I was also very happy to join the 10th Purple Parade, which strengthens our culture of inclusivity, and makes for a nation where everyone has a place regardless of his or her abilities.
Central CDC has also helped to push national initiatives. Singaporeans are now very familiar with the CDC Vouchers Scheme. The scheme has helped over 1 million households defray the cost of living since 2020, while also supporting our heartland merchants.
The SkillsFuture movement has also picked up momentum. Since 2017, Central CDC has conducted more than 800 SkillsFuture Advice workshops, reaching out to more than 44,000 residents.
Hopes for the New Term
Our five CDCs will continue their work to build communities and address the needs of our residents and communities. As Denise shared, an average of 650,000 participants in Central attended or were helped by CDC programmes over the last 3 years.
With the spirit and energy of our volunteers, Mayor Denise’s active leadership, as well as support from partners like Far East Organization, StarHub, Temasek Foundation, UOB, and many others, I am confident that you will continue to build a ‘Better Life’ for your residents.
To the 64 District Councillors here today, I applaud you for stepping forward and taking the lead in our community. I hope to hear inspiring stories of your time in the Council, and I wish all of you every success for the new term ahead.
Congratulations to the Central Singapore CDC’s 11th Council! Thank you.
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