Indranee Rajah: Budget 2020 will focus on volunteerism promotion

Indranee Rajah: Budget 2020 will focus on volunteerism promotion

The new Budget 2020 will have provisions for promoting volunteerism and assisting seniors with their retirement needs, Indranee Rajah, the said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office remarked.

On Tuesday (28 Jan), after visiting the senior volunteering organisation RSVP Singapore, Ms Rajah spoke to reporters regarding the Budget.

“Our aim for older Singaporeans is really to lead fulfilling lives at every stage of life…”We will certainly have something in the Budget to promote volunteerism across the board, but will also be looking to see what we can do for seniors. We also want to make sure that retirees have assurance in retirement.”” she remarked.

The government will address the ways of how to facilitate volunteering more easily for people: “The other thing is to help connect those who want to volunteer with the kind of causes or purposes that they would like to do.”

For Gurdip Singh, volunteering has changed his outlook on retirement. After selling his luggage shop in 2013 after labouring for 41 years, he travelled the world with his wife for two years until he noticed that his purpose was missing after he retired.

Mr Singh then searched up volunteering opportunities until he bumped across RSVP Singapore. From there, he volunteered as a senior ambassador at Changi Airport in 2015 where he volunteers as a walking information counter, among other ventures.

Every week, Mr Singh volunteers for three days, but not on the days where he takes care of his three grandchildren as well as not on weekends. “When I first started, it was to kill my time and to make better use of my time…[but] now it’s become a knowledge learning journey for me. I don’t just volunteer to pass my time. I actually volunteer to learn something new,” he added.

Aside from Mr Singh, not less than 2,500 RSVP volunteers are part of the training, befriending, guiding or episodic volunteering programmes from which more than 200,000 individuals benefit yearly.

As part of the SG Cares movement, RSVP Singapore also teamed up with the Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth (MCCY) to promote senior volunteerism in Singapore. They hope to reach out to 30,000 seniors between September 2019 and September 2020.

Koh Juay Meng, the chairman of RSVP Singapore stated that more than 10,000 senior citizens have been reached out to: “As a social service organisation, we would like to make sure that we are also looked into (in the upcoming Budget) and we are also taken care of at the end of the day.”

Mr Koh also hopes that provision for creating new programmes for the needs of senior people will be in the new Budget.

At the debate on the MCCY budget in 2019, Grace Fu, the minister of MCCY told Parliament that there will be seven neighbourhood-centric volunteer centres made available to actively develop, recruit and manage fellow volunteers after which they will be deployed to relevant volunteer programmes.

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