Singapore Red Cross launches Community-Led Action for REsilience (CLARE)

The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) launched Community Led Action for REsilience (C.L.A.R.E.) at the Tampines West Community Club on 31 January 2015. Graced by Guest-of-Honour, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs, and Adviser to Tampines Grassroots Organisations, the outreach event gathered around 200 volunteers, beneficiaries and partners in the east district.

Mobilising neighbourhood-based volunteers

Inaugurating in Tampines West, C.L.A.R.E. mobilises and empowers volunteers to provide first response, first aid, eldercare and befriending service to vulnerable groups in their community.

C.L.A.R.E. volunteers are trained in areas such as standard first aid, first aid for the elderly, the use of the automated external defibrillator (AED) and befriending. They will also receive training to assist those with chronic diseases, especially the elderly.

As part of the befrienders programme, C.L.A.R.E. volunteers will also be familiarised with the various assistance schemes available in the neighbourhood to better serve the beneficiaries.

In the first year, SRC aims to recruit and train 200 C.L.A.R.E. volunteers, and extend training to 400 caregivers.

“With the launch of C.L.A.R.E. in Tampines West, the elderly in our Constituency can look forward to better quality of care and making many more new friends. I am heartened to note that the newly trained volunteers have already visited Jamiyah Home for the Aged for community service, and conducted house visits to elderly beneficiaries of the Public Assistance Scheme, as well as the Eastern Health Alliance’s Neighbour for Active Living Programme,” said Mr Masagos.

Mr Tee Tua Ba, Singapore Red Cross Chairman, explained, “As the population ages, it is essential that as a community, we come together and work collectively on initiatives to enhance resilience, especially for the senior citizens and the disabled amongst us. For the support to be sustainable in the long run, building community togetherness and resilience is critical.”

Catalysing Local Communities

“After their first visit last Thursday, the Red Cross volunteers came again when they knew I had fallen down. They are really helpful and I am thankful for their constant encouragement,” said Mr De Silva Petiyaga Arther Bernard, 74, one of 10 beneficiaries who received food packs from Mr Masagos at the event.

“With C.L.A.R.E., the Singapore Red Cross’ services and volunteers are now geographically-based. Volunteers who might previously not be aware of people needing help in the same neighbourhood are now connected with these groups. C.L.A.R.E. provides a platform to connect volunteers and beneficiaries living within close proximities, allowing a more efficient community service network. I believe this would create a more caring and cohesive society,” Mr Mohamed Nasruddin Bin Roslan, 24, a Singapore Polytechnic student and a C.L.A.R.E. volunteer.

Complementing existing community support

C.L.A.R.E. provides a robust neighbourhood-based network of first response and community support that is sustainable on the basis of localised aid and resilience-building - a model that is vastly different from the common approach of centralised aid and reduces the reliance on social workers. Through this network and partnership with community organisations, SRC will identify gaps to fill and complement existing services with its local community services.

“While strengthening community resilience, C.L.A.R.E also opens the door for the less privileged to access signature Red Cross services such as Community FirstAid, TransportAid and FoodAid, thereby providing neighbourhoods with a ‘one-stop’ support framework,” said Chairman Tee Tua Ba. The Singapore Red Cross stands ready to welcome 30 more families to its FoodAid programme, and make an additional 1,500 trips on TransportAid.

“Tampines West grassroots partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for C.L.A.R.E. enhances our grassroot work and expands our reach to the elderly in the community. C.L.A.R.E.’s befrienders programme, for instance, is a new addition to what we are currently doing and we think it will have a positive impact on the elderly residents in this area,” said Mr Richard Tay, Chairman of the Active Aging Committee and Senior Citizen Committee, and a C.L.A.R.E. volunteer.

SRC has in its pipeline plans to establish three first aid posts in Tampines. These posts will house critical first aid equipment such as the AED, stretcher, and first response bicycles to be used by volunteers and the public in times of need. These would be rolled out progressively. SRC will monitor the effectiveness and make refinements to achieve a robust and effective working model that will be replicated in other districts throughout Singapore.