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Speech by Minister Masagos at Official Opening of first Enabling Services Hub at Tampines West CC

Type: Official Speeches: Masagos Zulkifli, Official Speeches (All)

Topic(s): Disability Services


Mr Eric Chua,
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development & Culture Community and Youth

Mr Moses Lee,
Chairman, SG Enable

Ms Ong Toon Hui,
President, SPD

Partners, Guests, And Residents


INTRODUCTION

1. Good afternoon. I am happy to be here today, to launch the first Enabling Services Hub, here at Tampines West CC. I see many residents, as well as many partners who have worked hard to make today possible. In this Year of Celebrating Social Service Partners, I would like to especially recognise SG Enable, SPD, and People’s Association for your efforts.

ESHs AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ENABLING MASTERPLAN 2030

2. Last August, we launched the Enabling Masterplan 2030, which outlines ways in which as a society, we can better enable persons with disabilities. The EMP2030 sets out a bold vision: to become a caring and inclusive society, where persons with disabilities are enabled to pursue their aspirations, achieve their potential,
and participate as integral members of society.

3. The Enabling Services Hub, or ESH in short, is one step in realising this vision.

4. The ESH places Community at the heart of its efforts. It embodies the idea that every individual deserves the opportunity to participate fully in society, and that everyone can contribute in their unique way.  When we come alongside each other, we become a stronger and more vibrant community.

5. The ESH is defined by three elements – Place, Participation, and People.

PLACE:  BRINGING DISABILITY SERVICES CLOSER TO HOME

6. First, Place. 
Many of us hold dear our home and our neighbourhood, where we spend a large part of our lives. These are spaces we encounter on a daily basis and which shape how we interact with others. 

7. ESHs will bring support for persons with disabilities into our neighbourhoods. The ESH will serve as the local touchpoint, connecting residents with disabilities and their families to disability services and community services.  At the ESH, residents with disabilities can participate in programmes, such as courses on daily living and digital skills. The ESH will also support caregivers. Caregivers can tap on respite care at the ESH and meet with other caregivers. 

8. The ESH will also be a place where residents can interact with one another naturally.  
Where residents can participate in activities together, regardless of their abilities.

PARTICIPATION:  ORGANISING PERSON-CENTRIC SERVICES THAT BENEFIT PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES, CAREGIVERS, AND THE COMMUNITY

9. P for Participation.  
The ESH will enable residents with disabilities to actively Participate in the community. 

10. To be truly inclusive, persons with disabilities must be socially connected to the community.

11. This is why the ESH is more than just a physical space at Tampines West CC.  It is about individuals and organisations coming together to make inclusion part of their everyday. 

12. For instance, residents with disabilities and other residents participating alongside each other in fitness activities such as Bokwa and cardio dance. Children playing with each other. Taking part in community events and activities together.

13. It is individuals serving as befrienders to fellow residents with disabilities and their families. Letting them know that there are people in the community who care, and who can support them. One example is Fion who has been reaching out to Veronica, a fellow Tampines resident. Fion has been accompanying Veronica to a digital skills training programme here at this CC.

14. Then, a caring and inclusive society is not just a vague concept we believe in or subscribe to, it becomes our lived reality. By engaging in these meaningful interactions, we build stronger bonds. We become the more caring and inclusive society Singaporeans say they want.

15. When persons with disabilities participate as integral members of the community,
the community benefits too. We learn to work, live and play, alongside our fellow residents. We learn to give and not just to take, and we teach our children to become more empathetic. We learn to look past disability, to also look at strengths. 

a. Take the example of Shawn, a Tampines resident with Down Syndrome.  The ESH team reached out to Shawn during their door-to-door outreach, and found out more about his interests. The ESH team then worked with the National Library Board to identify opportunities. Now, Shawn volunteers at Tampines Regional Library where he sorts and shelves books and meets with fellow volunteers and library users. Shawn is happy that he can contribute back to the community and is not defined by his disability. His parents are happy that he is meaningfully engaged, and they too can take this time to recharge.

PEOPLE:  ENCOURAGING GREATER INCLUSION OF PWDS BY INVOLVING ALL MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY

16. Finally, P for People.
A strong community is defined by its People.

17. Ultimately, how far inclusion is practiced in the community depends on us, the people.

18. I’m glad that many have already started to make the activities they organise more accessible for persons with disabilities and that the response from other participants has been positive. I hear that there are exciting activities in the pipeline, such as Jalan Jalan community walks at Bedok Reservoir and inclusive visits to National Gallery Singapore. I thank the many community partners and volunteers who have stepped forward.

19. To weave inclusion into the very fabric of our neighbourhoods, we will need even more community partners and individuals to partner with the ESH to design meaningful programmes.

a. Residents can volunteer to organise accessible community gatherings or outings.

b. Community partners can make their events and activities accessible; and 

c. Local businesses can offer employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

20. I encourage more to come on board and create a more inclusive and vibrant community for all.

CONCLUSION

21. Today, we launch the first Enabling Services Hub. The beginning of a journey to generate caring and inclusive communities in our neighbourhoods. 

22. Let us come together to enable persons with disabilities to participate as integral members of society. Let us build a more caring and inclusive Singapore.

23. Thank you.