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Community Investment and Inclusion Fund builds network for a caring community (with photos)

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, attended a gathering-cum-appointment ceremony at community organisation SC.Net today (March 1). During his speech, he said he hoped that the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund (the Fund) would develop from strength to strength, building extensive social capital for a more caring community.
     SC.Net was established in 2008 with a membership comprising enthusiastic persons from various social sectors. SC.Net members work to promote the development of social capital by leveraging on their expertise, experience and networks. At the appointment ceremony, Mr Cheung and the Chairman of the Fund Committee, Dr Lam Ching-choi, welcomed 17 new members to SC.Net, bringing its membership up to 193 persons.
     Mr Cheung, together with the new and existing SC.Net members, reviewed the development of the Fund over the years. The Government has injected a total of $500 million into the Fund since its inception in 2002. Over the past 13 years, the Fund has allocated $395 million to support 24 batches of applications, financing 307 projects across the 18 districts in Hong Kong. The Fund has mobilised more than 8 500 collaborating partners from the business sector, welfare organisations, the academic sector, residents' organisations and other groups. As at the end of last year, over 630 000 people had taken part in projects under the Fund, forming about 2 000 mutual help networks in the community. The projects under the Fund have also developed a number of innovative cross-sectoral collaborative models, such as "medical-welfare-community", "business-government-community", "housing-welfare-community" and "family-school-community". These provide inspiring models for the future development of social capital in Hong Kong.
     Mr Cheung added that the Fund would help strengthen care and support for elderly singletons and elderly couples in the coming years, as mentioned in this year's Policy Agenda.
     At the appointment ceremony, participants of a Fund project, Family Oasis-Happy Family Architect, shared their experience of building a cross-strata mutual help network in the community of Tin Shui Wai. Representatives of the implementing organisation, Pok Oi Hospital Chan Ping Memorial Neighbourhood Elderly Centre, pointed out that the project was family-oriented and training was provided by professionals to enhance the resilience of residents in the face of adversity. The project team proactively approached disadvantaged families in the area to build neighbourhood networks for mutual support. Besides, participants of the project  took the chance to perform "Laughter Yoga", introducing how this yoga sport, which blends breathing skills and laughter, could help relieve the pressure on residents and bring happiness to schools and elderly homes.
     At the close of the ceremony, Mr Cheung highlighted the meaningfulness and impact of the Fund's work and encouraged members of the Fund and SC.Net to make good use of their knowledge and experience to contribute to society and further community-based mutual help networks across the territory.

Ends/Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:56


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