Speech by President Tony Tan at the Singapore Anglican Community Services - St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital Charity Dinner

The Right Reverend Rennis Ponniah

President of the Singapore Anglican Community Services and St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital

Board of Management of the Singapore Anglican Community Services and St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good evening

My wife and I are happy to join you this evening to commemorate the 102nd Anniversary of Singapore Anglican Community Services (SACS) and St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital (SAMH).

SACS and SAMH have been serving the needs of the disadvantaged from the days when Singapore was an entreport for the British Empire. Though Singapore has changed much over the years, SACS and SAMH have remained committed to the call to restore the dignity, health and well-being of the less fortunate among us, regardless of race, language or religion and no matter how limited the resources.

SACS and SAMH serve over 20,000 people annually, through nineteen agencies that provide integrated social and health services to vulnerable women and children, elderly, and persons with disabilities. SACS and SAMH have remained relevant to the community over the years, by evolving and adapting their programmes and services to address the prevailing needs of the time.

Let me highlight a few examples.

Earlier this year in February, the St. Andrew’s Senior Care - JOY Connect, which is operated by St. Andrew’s Community Hospital, started providing day care, dementia day care, community rehabilitation, centre-based nursing and integrated home care services for the residents at Kampong Glam.  This is part of the hospital’s efforts to expand the range of its senior care services to meet the needs of our ageing population.

SACS has also been expanding its capacity to serve the needs of persons with psychiatric disabilities. The Simei Care Centre which was established a decade ago now serves 150 residential clients and 50 day care clients. This purpose-built rehabilitation centre adopts a community-based approach to help its clients in their journey towards recovery, community re-integration and an improved quality of life.

Recognising the growing and unmet need for services to persons with autism, SAMH established the St. Andrew’s Autism Centre ten years ago. From its humble beginnings, occupying one level of St. Andrew’s Community Hospital, the Centre started with two students and four adult clients enrolled in the Centre’s special education school and Day Activity Centre. Today, the Centre, which has a total enrolment of 175 students and 65 clients, is housed in an integrated facility at Elliot Road.

A common concern among families of persons with autism is the availability of care when the caregivers age or are no longer able to provide care. As the St. Andrew’s Autism Centre turns 10 years old this year, I am pleased to announce that the centre has been appointed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development to co-develop and operate a purpose-built residential facility for adults with autism.

It will be the first of its kind in Singapore.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development and St. Andrew’s Autism Centre are currently working closely together to design and build a facility that will provide long term residential care for those without alternative options. Located at Sengkang, the Adult Disability Home will have the capacity to house 200 residents when it is completed in 2018. It will also have a co-located Day Activity Centre with a capacity for 50 adult clients.

I am heartened that St. Andrew’s Autism Centre is taking this next big step forward to continue to walk and work alongside families of persons with autism, and be a bridge for education, training, intervention and advocacy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as we commemorate Singapore’s Golden Jubilee and celebrate Singapore’s economic progress and social harmony, we also celebrate the many helping hands that include corporations, religious organisations, faith-based community services, civic groups and social enterprises.  They all play their part, and complement the efforts of the government to make Singapore a better place for all who live here.

I would like to conclude by thanking the Singapore Anglican Community Services and St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital for your excellent contributions to meeting the healthcare and social needs of our community.

I am confident that by working together, we can continue to bridge the gaps and meet the needs of the needy in our community, and contribute to building a more caring and inclusive Singapore.

Thank you.  I wish you all an enjoyable evening.