Speech by PM Lee Hsien Loong at Allkin Singapore's 45th Anniversary Charity Dinner on 27 October 2023.
Friends, ladies, and gentlemen
A very good evening to everybody.
I am delighted to join everyone tonight for Allkin Singapore’s 45th Anniversary – it is a significant milestone to celebrate our achievements, and to recognise our partners.
Our FSCs’ Role in the Community
Our vision is to build a Singapore that is Made for Families, because families are the bedrock of our society. They provide a stable frame within which we nurture our next generation and imbue them with the right values. Families are also our first line of support. This is especially important in our ageing society, where we will have many more seniors to take care of. And therefore, the families form the basis for a stable society.
In today’s competitive world, families are coming under growing pressures. Lifestyles and social norms are changing. More families have both parents working and so are left with less time to spend with their kids. Also, many couples in their 50s and 60s – we might call the “Young Seniors” – have to take care of their elderly parents and also at the same time, their young kids. And we have seen how other countries have run into serious social problems because of the breakdown of family units. Without proper support, kids fall into bad company, and old folks get shunted aside and forgotten or neglected. And that is why the Singapore government has always supported families and family values, to secure the foundation of our society. Our economy and society have progressed over the years, and living standards have gone up across the board, but nevertheless, there will always be families who will need some extra support.
The Family Service Centres (or FSCs) play an important part in supporting families in need. FSCs partner these families, and help them to achieve stability, self-reliance and social mobility. They bring the community together to open doors and opportunities for these families, and to uplift them, enhancing our collective well-being.
Allkin started off as Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre back in 1978. You have since grown into a leading community-based social service agency, expanding beyond Ang Mo Kio town itself, to provide FSCs and other services in Bishan, Cheng San, Sengkang, Punggol, Pasir Ris and Yishun. So your rebranding to Allkin Singapore is timely, and reflects your broader scope and range. But I hope you will always continue to have a special place in your heart for Ang Mo Kio.
Today, Allkin provides casework, counselling, groupwork, and community work programmes, aimed at enabling families to nurture brighter futures and to contribute to their communities. You have almost 40 touchpoints which serve children and youth at risk, families that require social support, frail seniors, ex-offenders, persons with mental health conditions, and many others who need help.
Allkin has contributed significantly to our community over the decades. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Allkin responded to the Government’s call to set up Safe Sound Sleeping Places for rough sleepers, and operated a new transitional shelter for the homeless. And just in your most recent financial year, you have helped about 20,000 beneficiaries, including more than 3,000 families, work through their difficulties.
Strengthening our Social Compact
Looking ahead, through the Forward Singapore exercise, we are renewing our social compact. And we must work hard to stay one united nation amidst this turbulent and uncertain world.
Allkin and other community partners play a key role in strengthening our social compact. Your work is built on the basic premise that everyone has a stake and a role to play in our society. Our people – who must continue to feel a strong sense of personal responsibility to do their best for themselves and their families. Our community – the organisations and individuals who contribute time, resources, and expertise to support our people. And our Government – which creates conditions for growth and opportunities for all, and provides targeted assistance for the less privileged.
Allkin’s many community touchpoints bring help closer to residents’ doorsteps. For example, Allkin is establishing a centre at Block 326 in Ang Mo Kio, which will run programmes like KidSTART and mobilise residents to lead ground-up initiatives for children and families in need.
Another important Government programme that Allkin is supporting is ComLink, where volunteers and community organisations partner the Government to support families with children who are residing in rental flats. Allkin's caseworkers will support families with more complex needs, as well as provide guidance and advice for other families. This Forward Singapore exercise has thrown up several ideas to improve ComLink. One of them, for example, is to train and equip ComLink officers as Family Coaches. They will work together with volunteer befrienders to coach and motivate families towards achieving their goals, and help them navigate the various support programmes. And I hope Allkin will participate in these enhancements of ComLink too.
Celebrating Our Partners
All this good work relies on the efforts of our community and corporate partners, the conviction of our volunteers, and the generosity of our donors. Your contributions are crucial to those in need, and thank you to all of you!
May I especially thank Dr S Vasoo, a pioneer of our social service sector. Dr Vasoo has been AMKFSC’s advisor for nearly 40 years now, since 1984. All these years, he has been guiding AMKFSC’s development and shaping its community efforts; and tonight, he will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for his service. Congratulations, Doc!
Staying cohesive as one united people is a whole-of-society effort, as we nurture and build lives together; strengthen our families and communities; and play our part to build a more inclusive and caring Singapore.
Allkin’s services and community initiatives will have an important role in realising this vision.
I thank you and your volunteers again for the passion and dedication you bring to your work.
Congratulations, and Happy 45th Anniversary, Allkin. Thank you very much!
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