Colonel Lyndon Buckingham, Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar Territory
Mr Bill Foo, Chairman of The Salvation Army Advisory Board
Her Excellency Heather Grant, High Commissioner of Canada to Singapore
His Excellency Scott Wightman, British High Commissioner to Singapore
Friends and Supporters of the Salvation Army
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good afternoon. I am delighted to be here today for The Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal Luncheon 2015.
80 Years of Service
At the Ministry of Social and Family Development, I often come across the good work of many charities and voluntary welfare organisations. One of my favourite books, which sits on the bookshelf at my MSF office, was published by the National Council of Social Service a few years ago. Titled “For All We Care”, it chronicles the evolution of the social service sector and formation of different voluntary welfare organisations in Singapore.
Yesterday, I opened the book and looked for a feature on the origin of The Salvation Army in Singapore. I could not find it. Just when I was beginning to feel disappointed, I realised why. The book had started its chronicle from the year 1958, when the Singapore Council of Social Service was formed. The Salvation Army had, on the other hand, first established its presence in Singapore in 1935. In 1939, it registered as charity here. In other words, The Salvation Army’s presence in Singapore pre-dated the Singapore Council of Social Service by over 20 years!
Over the last 80 years, the organisation has touched the lives of many Singaporeans. It started in providing care, protection and support to vulnerable children. It subsequently expanded to other services such as community eldercare, nursing home, work-therapy for those who suffer from mental illnesses, and social enterprises. Today, its facilities and services, such as the Peacehaven nursing home, Gracehaven and The Haven children’s homes, its Donation-in-Kind Booths and its Family Thrift Stores are well-known to Singaporeans.
Ladies and gentlemen, you would agree with me that 80 years of dedicated service and solid contribution are worth our appreciation and recognition. May I invite you to join me in applauding the leaders, staff and supporters of The Salvation Army!
Doing More; Doing Better; Doing It Together
A month ago, Singapore commemorated National Day, our 50th as a nation. SG50 is a time for celebration. It is also a time a good time to reflect on the kind of society we want to build going forward.
Singaporeans have set for ourselves the collective goal of building a more inclusive society. One with hope and heart for those with less. The social service sector – made up of government ministries and agencies, voluntary welfare organisations, professionals, volunteers, donors and supporters like many of you here this afternoon – are at the forefront of this endeavour.
We can do more – to offer greater support and assurance to Singaporeans with less.
We can do better – to provide more effective help to prevent the vulnerable from falling and to enable those who have fallen to bounce back.
We ought to do it together – tapping on each other’s strengths & resources and delivering help in a coordinated fashion.
Backing Good Work
I am confident that The Salvation Army will be an integral part of this endeavour. The government will continue to support its good work in serving Singaporeans. My Ministry has for example journeyed with Gracehaven and The Haven children’s homes for close to three decades. Today, we continue to work together on several new initiatives. One example is better use of technology to improve the safety of children and youth in the Homes. Another is a pilot interim placement and assessment service to provide temporary care for children with protection needs, while investigations and assessments are ongoing. We have also committed 1-for-1 matching grants for donations raised in this Jubilee year through the SG50 Care & Share movement.
The building of a more inclusive society will require more than the government or voluntary welfare organisations. Ladies and Gentlemen, many of you here today have been long-time donors and volunteers of The Salvation Army here. Others may be first timers. Whether you are a longstanding or first-time supporter, I hope that you will continue to back the organisation. Your continued support will go a long way towards supporting them to continue their good work, and in inspiring them to do more and to do better in bringing about positive change in the lives of Singaporeans for many more years to come.
Thank you and have an enjoyable luncheon.