The work of St. Hilda’s Community Services Centre is encapsulated in a simple phrase –
“Reaching out, Touching lives”
A staff force of 8 backed and complemented by a 200 strong volunteer force, popularly known as the “ang sahs” by the residents because of their distinctive red T-shirts, do not wait for residents to call on them.
Instead, the strategy of knocking on each and every door to discover the real needs of the residents has resulted in Programmes, as varied as the needs are.
As time progresses, we grew more specialized. Currently, St. Hilda’s Community Services has 2 main branches, friends @ St Hilda’s Link and health @ St Hilda’s Link. Both of these entities help to cater to the varied needs of the residents at Tanjong Rhu.
We started with serving the residents in the 13 blocks of flats in Tanjong Rhu, of which about half of the 1,572 households are elderly residents.
In 2004, St. Hilda’s responsibilities were enlarged to include the residents in a further 22 blocks of flats at Dakota Crescent and Old Airport Road.
Touching the health of residents emerged as a priority when our door to door visits highlighted the plight of bed ridden and home bound residents who were ignorant of services available to them and/or were not vigilant in monitoring chronic health conditions they were suffering from. Linking them up with relevant services and making available the services of our volunteer doctors currently meets this crucial need. Residents with diabetes and hypertension are monitored once a week by our volunteer doctor.
Together with the South East CDC and Changi General Hospital, a more exhaustive and comprehensive health screening Programme for the elderly was mounted for the residents.
What was heartening to note was that many who would never have availed themselves to such a health screening exercise were served. There were several residents who were detected with dangerously high blood sugar and blood pressure levels. They were attended to just in time. The trust and good relationship with volunteers enabled residents to be touched in this way.
A total of 393 elderly benefited from this health screening exercive and this was the birthing of an exercise Programme (Golden Oldies Exercise Programme).
Some 60 elderly residents meet twice a week going through a series of professionally developed exercise that would keep them fit and enhance mobility.
Touching lives that are lonely, touching lives of those whose nests are empty, touching lives of those whose days are long through social activities.
These activities were introduced when we met with many residents who said that it was difficult for them to pass the day. They either lived alone or family members were too busy.
This, the inception of “The Coffee Bin” – a daily gathering of some 80 – 100 residents at a refurbished refuse bin centre.
This became an integral part of the residents’ lives. On the occasions when it has to be closed for just a day for pressing reasons such as repair or painting, residents feel disengaged and voiced disappointment.
Other activities such as outings, festive celebrations, senior citizens’ week celebrations all have the same focus – we care.
Touching lives where it counts has led to quickly mounted exercises.
Reaching out to residents to explain the CPF top up scheme, workfare, and other policies has gone a long way in helping residents enjoy benefits available to them.
LoveCOPE volunteers fill forms, explain letters from government departments, accompany residents who need help to government agencies – small actions that reap important results for the individual residents.