SLW visits sheltered workshop for persons with disabilities (with photos)

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, visited the Hang Ngai Workshop cum Hostel operated by the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals in Hung Hom today (February 5) to see for himself the training and residential care services provided for persons with disabilities and offer his early Lunar New Year greetings.

     Mr Cheung was briefed on the services offered by the workshop and hostel. The workshop provides vocational training to persons with disabilities who are unable to secure employment in the open market so as to help them develop their potential as well as enhance their ability in the workplace.

     Mr Cheung also toured the workshop and hostel facilities and chatted with the service users to learn more about their training and living conditions.

     Mr Cheung said, "The Government is committed to helping persons with disabilities attain employment. We spare no efforts in strengthening employment support and vocational rehabilitation training for them."

     He added, "Starting from the next financial year, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) will increase the job attachment monthly allowance and wage subsidy for job trial under the On the Job Training Programme for People with Disabilities and the Sunnyway - On the Job Training Programme for Young People with Disabilities.

     "The Labour Department will also enhance the Work Orientation and Placement Scheme (WOPS) by paying an additional allowance up to a maximum of $5,500 per month for two months to an employer who employs a person with disabilities with employment difficulties and provides him or her with training or support during the work adaptation period. This is in addition to the existing WOPS incentive under which the employer can receive an allowance equivalent to two-thirds of the monthly salary of the employee with disabilities (subject to a maximum of $4,000 per month) for up to six months."

     Noting the keen demand for various rehabilitation services, Mr Cheung said, "The Government will continue to provide more day training and residential care service places and identify suitable sites and premises as early as possible. The SWD is actively studying the feasibility of redeveloping the former sites of Siu Lam Hospital in Tuen Mun and Kai Nang Sheltered Workshop and Hostel in Kwun Tong into integrated rehabilitation service complexes. Together, these two projects can provide about 2 000 residential care places and day training places.

     "We will also increase the manpower for residential care homes and day training centres to enhance the care and support for ageing service users."

     Mr Cheung said that the Government would also enhance community care support for persons with severe disabilities at the same time.

     "Specifically, we have decided to regularise the Pilot Scheme on Home Care Service for this group in March next year. It will be extended to all districts in Hong Kong and include persons with severe disabilities who are not on the waiting list for residential care home services. At least 3 000 people will benefit," he said.

     Mr Cheung brought snack packs produced by a social enterprise to share with the service users of the workshop and hostel. With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, he also wished them a healthy and happy Year of the Snake.

Ends/Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Issued at HKT 14:49