Opening remarks by CS at Salvation Army Appreciation Reception (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the opening remarks by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the Salvation Army Appreciation Reception today (February 23):

General André Cox (the General of the Salvation Army), Commissioner Silvia Cox (the Salvation Army World President of Women's Ministries), Dr David Li (the Chairman of the Advisory Board, Salvation Army Hong Kong and Macau Command), Lieutenant-Colonel Ian Swan (the Officer Commanding, Salvation Army Hong Kong and Macau Command), Lieutenant-Colonel Wendy Swan (the Command President of Women's Ministries, Salvation Army Hong Kong and Macau Command), honourable guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     It gives me great pleasure to join you this evening at The Salvation Army Appreciation Reception. This, as I understand, is the very first appreciation reception the Salvation Army has held in Hong Kong, and I would like to extend a very warm welcome to General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox. It is indeed what we Chinese call "double happiness" to have this joyous event held in the first month of the Lunar New Year. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a prosperous and healthy Year of the Monkey!

     I am touched by the theme and spirit of today's appreciation reception. "Appreciation" is exactly what is needed in, and all over, Hong Kong. Last December, the Government launched the five-month "Appreciate Hong Kong" Campaign. And this pin I am wearing is the logo of the "Appreciate Hong Kong" Campaign, which aims to serve as a platform for co-operation among different sectors to organise and launch various activities and projects that will encourage the public to appreciate Hong Kong more, as sometimes we tend to take things for granted. So let me reiterate today that we "appreciate" the Salvation Army and many welfare NGOs as staunch supporters of our campaign.
     But what warrants a much deeper appreciation is the decades of service rendered by the Salvation Army to the people of Hong Kong. With almost 80 social services units, 33 schools and nurseries, 17 churches, one outpost and 16 Family Stores, the work of the Salvation Army in Hong Kong and Macau over past 85 years has been exemplary. They address the changing welfare needs of the community, in particular the provision of high quality elderly and rehabilitation services, as well as services for the disadvantaged groups through its various community studies and innovative projects.

     Apart from subvented and self-financing social services, the Salvation Army has spared no effort in promoting the spirit of sustainable development and self-reliance. Through funding from the Enhancing Self-Reliance Through District Partnership Programme, the Salvation Army sets up various social enterprises covering thrift shops, a computer recycling station and a rehabilitation centre for the elderly. These social enterprises provide opportunities for under-privileged women, low-educated or low-skilled people, unemployed middle-aged people and new arrivals to make good use of their talents. The Salvation Army has always been and remains the Government's most reliable partner in the delivery of welfare services. Indeed, poverty alleviation and better elder care are top on the current-term Government's policy agenda.

     I cannot finish my speech without extending my personal appreciation to Dr David Li, Chairman of the Salvation Army Hong Kong and Macau Command Advisory Board. Despite being an extremely busy banker, as you all know, David takes a very close interest in the NGOs that he is associated with. I still remember vividly, David, attending a lunch hosted by you at your penthouse with officers from the Salvation Army, not talking about grand projects, but discussing about the collection of used clothes for the Salvation Army's recycling business.

     On behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, let me express my deepest thanks to the Salvation Army for its dedicated social services in Hong Kong in the past 85 years. I trust that with the inspiring leadership from the International Headquarters and continuous efforts from all members of the Hong Kong and Macau Command, the Salvation Army will scale new heights in the years to come.

     I wish you all an enjoyable evening and a blessed year ahead. Thank you very much.

Ends/Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:32