Construction works of SWD's first Integrated Rehabilitation Services Complex under its full supervision commence (with photos)

     The Social Welfare Department (SWD) held a works commencement ceremony today (January 16) at the site of the ex-Kai Nang Sheltered Workshop and Hostel in Kwun Tong for the first Integrated Rehabilitation Services Complex (IRSC), which will be constructed fully under its supervision. Apart from marking the beginning of the complex's construction works, the ceremony also signified a key milestone for rehabilitation services in Hong Kong.

     Officiating at the ceremony today were the Permanent Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Miss Annie Tam; the Director of Social Welfare, Ms Carol Yip; and the Vice Chairman of Kwun Tong District Council, Mr Hung Kam-in.

     An SWD spokesman said, "The overall objective of the Government's rehabilitation policy is to support the full integration of persons with disabilities (PWDs) into society. There have been in recent years continuously increasing resources to enhance the rehabilitation services and the overall recurrent expenditure has increased from $16.6 billion in 2007-08 to $28.6 billion in 2015-16, with an impressive growth of 72 per cent. The related recurrent expenditure in 2016-17 is further increased to $30.1 billion, which demonstrates the Government's commitment in this aspect."

     The Government is determined to redevelop the site of the ex-Kai Nang Sheltered Workshop and Hostel into an IRSC to increase the supply of subvented rehabilitation places to meet the keen demand in society. The project was also included as one of the initiatives in the Chief Executive's 2013 Policy Address.

     The spokesman said that a total of $502 million has been allocated from the Lotteries Fund to meet the design, construction and fitting-out costs of the IRSC. Meanwhile, the Kwun Tong District Council, locals and residents threw their full support behind the IRSC and said they were committed to ensuring its successful implementation.

     The 10-storey new building will provide 300 residential care service places for PWDs, which are in pressing need, and 210 day training and vocational rehabilitation places, as well as reprovisioning three existing centres providing community rehabilitation services. The building will also provide supporting facilities to cater for the operational needs of the service units. Landscaping will be provided on the roof terraces and some floors for environmental and amenity benefits.

     The whole project is expected to complete by the end of 2018 and for service units in the complex to run services in the second half of 2019. 

     The spokesman added that another major project is the redevelopment of the site of former Siu Lam Hospital in Tuen Mun, which will provide 1 150 residential care places and 550 day training places. The works will commence this year and are forecast to be completed by 2019. 

     The spokesman added that the SWD plans to convert three vacant school premises (namely ex-CCC Kei Leung Primary School site in Leung King Estate, Tuen Mun; ex-CCC Kei Ching Primary School site in Fu Shin Estate, Tai Po; and ex-Sai Kung Central Primary School site in Ho Chung, Sai Kung) into integrated welfare services complexes. With the two major projects and three vacant school conversion projects mentioned above, together with other planned projects, the Government plans to provide about 6 000 additional rehabilitation service places in the coming five years (i.e. 2016-17 to 2020-21). Of these, there will be some 2 500 residential care service places. In addition, the department will provide more rehabilitation facilities through the Special Scheme on Privately Owned Sites for Welfare Uses. If the projects under the Special Scheme are all implemented, about 8 000 more rehabilitation service places will be provided, including some 2 000 residential care service places, thus relieving the pressure on service demand and shortening the waiting time for the services.

     Brief information on the IRSC is outlined in the Annex.

Ends/Monday, January 16, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:13