S1E34: ComLink+: Partnering low-income families with befrienders and family coaches

  • 4 Dec 2023

Hear how you can donate in terms of financial assistance or even in other ways if you can set aside your time.

Synopsis: Every second and fourth Monday of the month, The Straits Times takes a hard look at Singapore's social issues of the day with guests.

The Forward Singapore exercise began in June 2022, and over 16 months, more than 200,000 Singaporeans from all walks of life have taken part in engagement sessions on a wide range of topics. The engagement exercise ended with the Forward Singapore Report released by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on Oct 27, 2023.

The report reflects Singaporeans’ collective aspirations and shared understanding of our roles and vision for the future.

Today, about 14,000 families with children who live in public rental housing are supported by the Community Link programme – in housing, employment and education. It’s a programme to support lower-income families in all HDB towns, with a focus on those living in public rentals with children under 21.

In this episode, we’ll look at the new and boosted ComLink+ programme.

ST's podcast editor Ernest Luis hosts three guests in this episode:

  1. Mr Manas Gupta, a ComLink volunteer befriender who conducts home visits to help families in need of community support
  2. Mr Malminderjit Singh, a volunteer with a foster home and who is also on advisory boards related to community support
  3. Mr Lim Teck Kiat, a senior director in policy from the Ministry of Social & Family Development

This podcast is brought to you by the Ministry of Communications and Information, in support of Forward Singapore: https://str.sg/wFbY

Highlights (click/tap above):

3:35 Why Mr Manas became a "befriender" to a low-income family, and how they have interacted with him

5:30 Mr Malminderjit on how the financial assistance scheme was crucial in shaping his own life, and what low-income families actually want, what moves the needle

10:56 Mr Lim explains how the new ComLink+ programme will work

16:05 Ensuring longer-term financial support and reducing gaps in early childhood development - befrienders can also link the dots for ComLink+ new "family coaches"

18:30 Can potential donors reach out financially? Also, can the community chip in more, besides just financial donations, such as in mentorships, internships, jobs

21:50 The ComLink+ programme's new “family coaches”: How this new role works, and other volunteer partnerships

More on how you can help in ComLink+:

ComLink+ programme: https://str.sg/ixLQ

Select your preferred cause: https://str.sg/ixLM

MSF website: https://str.sg/ixLY

Listen to other instalments of this Forward SG-themed series:

Pt 1: Jobs & upskilling - https://str.sg/iqXa

Pt 2: Youth panels - https://str.sg/iqXR

Pt 3: End of profit-flipping BTO mentality - https://str.sg/ixLf

Produced by: Ernest Luis (ernest@sph.com.sg), Hadyu Rahim & Amirul Karim

Edited by: Hadyu Rahim

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Special edition series:

True Crimes Of Asia (6 eps): https://str.sg/i44T

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Invisible Asia (9 eps): https://str.sg/wuZn

Stop Scams (10 eps): https://str.sg/wuZB

Singapore's War On Covid (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuJa


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