Free entry to all public gyms and swimming pools for Singaporeans aged 65 and above
Singaporeans aged 65 and above will be given free entry to all ActiveSG swimming pools and gyms from April 1, as part of Sport Singapore’s efforts to encourage senior citizens to stay active, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said.
In her Committee of Supply speech, Ms Fu noted one in four Singaporeans will be at or above 65 years old by 2030, and there will be 900,000 seniors.
“Sports and physical activity allow our seniors to sustain their health and mobility longer, and continue to be engaged in the community,” she said, adding the age criterion will be reviewed “from time to time, in keeping with the trends and life expectancy of Singaporeans”.
Seniors currently pay between 50 cents and $1.50 for entry to ActiveSG’s 26 pools and 24 gyms islandwide. The new initiative is expected to benefit more than 500,000 citizens.
Three new Sports-in-Precinct facilities
Ms Fu also announced three new Sports-in-Precinct facilities in Sengkang South, Pasir Ris East and Dover, achieving the ministry’s target of initiating 20 of these projects by this year.
Sports-in-precinct facilities aim to provide a wider range of accessible sports facilities in residential neighbourhoods.
These are part of the $1.5 billion Sports Facilities Master Plan to strengthen the sporting landscape and provide Singaporeans with a venue to play and exercise within 10 minutes of their homes by 2030.
Singapore to roll out grading system for charities
Charities in Singapore could be graded by next year to help donors narrow down and decide more easily which organisations to donate to.
Work is under way to design this new regulatory compliance indicator, and the aim is to roll it out by next year on the charity portal, Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann said in Parliament.
She said her ministry is simplifying the process of searching for charities’ information on the charity portal to help donors make informed choices.
The new indicator is intended to reveal at a glance whether a charity has met the minimum 80 per cent compliance prescribed in the Code of Governance for Charities and IPCs; and whether the audit opinion in the independent auditor’s report on the charity’s financial statements has been qualified.
The Commissioner of Charities (COC) will be piloting this initiative with Singapore’s 600 or so IPCs, which form a subset of the larger population of charities here.
There are 2,277 registered charities as of end 2018.
Grants and Subsidies to support the Arts
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng shared that there are two new schemes available for arts groups to tap on to ease their expenses, and improve their skills amid this Covid-19 outbreak.
A one-time capability development grant to subsidise the cost of local courses is open to both individual and arts organisations. Organisations can apply for grants of up to $10,000, individuals of up to $600.
The other initiative is a subsidy to help arts practitioners cushion the impact of the virus outbreak – a 30 per cent subsidy of venue rental and associated costs. This applies for events at the Esplanade, the National Gallery, Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, Singapore Conference Hall, National Heritage Board museums and Arts House venues.
NHB to fund mini museums for heritage shops
From March 7 onwards, you will be able to learn about the history of five heritage shops in the Balestier precinct when you visit the heritage corners located within their shops.
The five shops to have their own mini museums are: Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah shop, Loy Kee Best Chicken Rice, Lim Kay Khee Optical and Contact Lens Centre, Lam Yeo Coffee Powder Factory, and Sweetlands Confectionery and Bakery.
This is part of the National Heritage Board (NHB)’s new Street Corner Heritage Galleries programme that aims to revitalise heritage precincts and instil a stronger sense of ownership among key community stakeholders.
The scheme, Mr Baey said, highlights shopkeepers with at least 30 years of experience in Singapore’s historical precincts.
The mini museums programme will be rolled out to heritage shops in four other historical precincts -Kampong Gelam, Little India, Geylang Serai and Kreta Ayer – by 2022.
Singapore Philatelic Museum to reopen next year as dedicated children’s museum
Singapore Philatelic Museum will become a dedicated children’s museum targeted at those aged 12 and below when it reopens in 2021.
Ms Fu said that the museum will be revamped such that “children can learn about a wide range of themes, including the heritage and culture of Singapore and the region, by playing with interactive and immersive exhibits”.
To reach even more young Singaporeans, the NHB and the Ministry of Education’s pilot of a museum-based learning programme for Primary 6 and Secondary 2 students at the Asian Civilisations Museum and National Museum respectively, will become mandatory from this year.
The NHB plans to extend this programme to Primary 4 and Primary 5 students.
New source of funding for elite athletes not covered under current system
An annual purse of $100,000 will be available to national athletes currently ineligible under the existing High Performance Sports (HPS) system.
The Temasek Foundation Inspire Fund for Athletes will be launched this year to provide campaign funding for these sportsmen, said Mr Baey.
He highlighted the recent international achievements of the country’s indoor skydivers and the national dodgeball and tchoukball squads and said the Government wants to support their aspirations. More details will be announced this year.
The MCCY allocates $70 million annually in the HPS system,which is distributed to the various national sports associations (NSAs) and also provides financial support for local athletes in mainstream sports like swimming, table tennis and football.
Supporting Asatizahs and Families
All aspiring religious teachers will have to go through on-the-job training or work-based projects before getting accreditation to practise and teach in Singapore. This will be part of the compulsory Postgraduate Certificate in Islam in Contemporary Societies (PCICS).
Aspiring asatizahs will have to receive this certificate before being accredited under the mandatory Asatizah Recognition Scheme.
Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and chairperson of the Committee on Future Asatizah (Cofa) Maliki Osman said that investments must be made in the development of young asatizahs as they are great assets to the community, beyond the mosque and madrasah.
“In turn, I hope that our young aspiring asatizah will rise to the occasion, be the confident guides that the community needs to navigate future challenges, contribute to the vision of a Muslim community of success and help us build a strong and cohesive Singapore,” he added.
Low-income Malay/Muslim families will also receive support from Mendaki and MUIS grant to save for their children’s preschool education.
This scheme will be piloted for 100 pre-schoolers from January to December 2023.
Grant recipients will receive a matching top-up from community funds when they save in their child’s Child Development Account (CDA), which will also be matched by the Government of up to $360 a year.
These children will be identified through Mendaki’s Preschool Outreach Programme.