Remarks by Chairperson and Chief Executive
In the face of a number of societal challenges this year, HKCSS has continued to launch projects to help Hongkongers cope with adversity. We are pleased to note that initiatives to resolve challenges of an ageing population, educational campaigns to facilitate public understanding of social issues, training programs to enhance capabilities of the sector, as well as projects to develop social capital have been huge successes.
Helping People to Cope with Adversity
HKCSS is concerned about the needs of the grassroots, particularly families without public housing tenancy who have to put up with high private housing rents and poor living conditions. Last year we introduced the “Community Housing Movement”, involving operations coming into service in various districts that could benefit over 260 families. Also, the first “Modular Social Housing Project” is expected to begin at Nam Cheong Street, Sham Shui Po; those with housing needs will be offered residential placement soon.
Our social housing project has won the approval and support of community stakeholders, and, in response to our suggestion, the government has set up the “Transitional Housing Fund” and a taskforce to further develop similar projects.
Given the wide public concern over a recent spate of student suicides, HKCSS has conducted a research through our school social work network. Results showed that many students were suffering from increasingly severe levels of emotional and mental health issues, and among them, 2,321 interviewees had thought about committing suicide or had even committed suicidal acts. In response to the sector’s demands and to alleviate the problem, the government has decided to strengthen the manpower of school social work service to two social workers per secondary school in order to identify and offer timely and appropriate support to students in need.
Preparing for an Ageing Society
We continued to work with the government on organising the “Gerontech and Innovation Expo cum Summit”, the second edition of which was bigger in scale, showcased a greater variety of products and services, and attracted over 50,000 visitors. Apart from introducing new technological products, we have also worked with social welfare organisations to launch the “Stair Climbing Service Project”, which helps service users to connect with the community and enhance their quality of life. Furthermore, we are in active preparation and have secured funding for an equipment rental service that is expected to launch in 2020.
The Movie “Distinction”
To enhance public understanding of social issues, particularly those related to integrated education and youth development, HKCSS, for the first time, engaged in film production. The film “Distinction” revolves around students and teachers of a special school, helping the audience to understand the plight and strengths of these youngsters and their family members. The movie features not only prominent actors and actresses, but students from special schools starring in important roles to inject heart-warming realism. The movie was a box-office success and has been nominated for the 25th Best Actress Award of Hong Kong Film Critics Society as well as the best actress and best original film song at the 38th Hong Kong Film Awards.
Enhancing Welfare Sector’s Capabilities
We continue to closely monitor the reform of the subvention system while strengthening corporate governance, supporting the development of smaller NGOs and enhancing service quality through projects such as “NGO Governance Platform Project”, “Project Star” and “HKCSS Institute”. Also our “Caring Company Scheme” and “Social Enterprise Business Centre” have continued to develop social capital for the sector, facilitate partnership and promote social innovation.
We are grateful to funding organisations, including the Community Chest of Hong Kong, the Lotteries Fund, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and Government departments such as the Social Welfare Department, for their continuous support. Hong Kong is going through stormy times, and conflict in society is a day-today reality. HKCSS and our agency members will stand fast in our positions to provide professional services to people in need, as well as join hands to help fostering a caring, mutually supportive and just society.