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Janice Heng
Tuesday, Jul 15, 2014

Singapore

Central S'pore CDC to 'expand its role

The Straits Times | Janice Heng | Tuesday, Jul 15, 2014

Mayor Denise Phua.

To keep up with the times, the Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC) must look beyond its traditional role of helping the needy, and encourage people to get along better, said the district's mayor Denise Phua yesterday.

"The landscape in which CDCs operate has changed," she said, noting that there are other players now such as social service offices and family service centres with similar roles.

"I believe the scope will be larger than before and will not be as traditional as before," she said, speaking to reporters at the sidelines of an appointment ceremony for district councillors.

So in its new term, which began yesterday, Central Singapore CDC will focus more on helping people to bond and connect.

This includes tackling possible friction between locals and foreigners, or liberals and conservatives.

More support will also be given to special causes or interests such as environmental issues, or the arts and culture.

To identify gaps that it can help to bridge, the CDC will analyse the needs of different communities ranging from children to professionals and seniors, and will conduct focus groups and consult community partners such as grassroots organisations.

Ms Phua hopes to "complete some basic analysis" in the next 100 days, to have a better idea of what projects to start.

Initial plans include improved versions of existing schemes for children from needy families and seniors, and outreach efforts to adults - especially professionals - through inspirational talks.

Yesterday, the CDC's district councillors received certificates of appointment from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is a grassroots adviser to Ang Mo Kio GRC.

Among the 24 new faces in the 62-member council is Ms Dorothy Ng, 36, who works in corporate communications.

"I feel that I can pay it forward, and with a bigger pool of people, you can do even bigger things," she said.

In his 13 years as a district councillor, Mr Sarjit Singh, 47, said he has seen the district age.

With one in five residents aged over 60, they are a key group whose needs must be addressed, said Mr Singh, who is chief financial officer of a multinational corporation.


This article was first published on July 13, 2014.
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