Former delivery-man, 75-year-old Chong Man, lost his wife unexpectedly. Just before his wife passed away, they had both joined Charis ACE, an activity centre for seniors run by Methodist Welfare Services (MWS). Chong Man received the timely support of a new network of friends. Having a sense of belonging gave him much comfort.
Charis ACE stands out from the typical senior activity centre which serves elderly people living in rental blocks. Besides its homely and club-like ambience, it reaches out to seniors who own HDB flats that they live in, but still face the risk of social isolation as their social networks fall away.
It is the latest ministry that epitomises MWS’ focus, since it started in 1981, on reaching out to the under-served and vulnerable who fall through the cracks. A few years earlier, another first-of-its-kind centre, Residence @ St. George’s, was opened to offer residential rehabilitation to young female offenders serving probation. It is an option for court judgments that decide to give at-risk girls, who would otherwise face incarceration, a second chance.
Over the years, programmes and centres added to this list included FamilyWorks Community Services which caters to children of single-parent families through school-based programmes, the Walk with the Poor Programme, and Agape Methodist Hospice, one of the first home-based palliative care providers for terminally-ill patients who wish to spend their last days at home.
Carrying on our commitment to the vulnerable and forgotten, MWS will be launching more services this year as we mark our 35th anniversary. These include three new senior activity centres serving residents living in studio apartments, and an integrated Family Development Programme to tackle diverse financial needs stemming from children’s education, nutrition, daily living expenses, debts, and building funds for rainy days.
MWS Group Executive Director Mrs Jenny Bong said: “Singapore has a relatively comprehensive social service net for the disadvantaged. However, there will inevitably be people who fall through the cracks. This may happen when they don’t meet eligibility criteria of programmes or there are inadequate programmes to take care of the complexities and changing needs.
“MWS’ position as a multi-service agency allows us to look into serving diverse needs in an integrated way. Our set-up is also nimble in responding to shifting trends and taking up causes that are not necessarily funded by authorities.”
At the cusp of reaching our 35-year milestone, MWS would like to thank everyone who has supported us with your donations, faithful service and prayers. We will continue to press on in serving the last, lost and least, exemplifying God’s love for each and every one of them.
Come and mark MWS’35th year of existence at “I Run for 12,000” Impacting Lives Challenge!
By the Methodist Welfare Services Communications Team