New Community Chest fund set up for smaller charities

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As a neglected child, he did not know the alphabet or how to spell his own name.

When he first started at CampusImpact, the seven-year-old boy, whose parents are separated, could not interact well with others.

But after a few weeks in the volunteer welfare organisation, he is shaping up to be a bright and well-behaved child.

This is one of the many successes by CampusImpact, which seeks to help young people, especially those from less stable families, in their development into useful citizens.

And soon, along with several other charitable organisations, CampusImpact will be able to tap into a new fund set up by the Community Chest from this year to 2021. Each charity will receive up to $50,000 a year for two years. The fund was announced on Feb 5.

Ms Elysa Chen, 34, CampusImpact's acting executive director, said this support will allow the centre to continue offering its classes and programmes.

The centre currently relies heavily on donations.

She said: "With the fund, we can now afford to have a part-time youth counsellor and to launch new programmes for the children."

One of CampusImpact's new programmes includes the after-school care Study Buddy, which started in January.

It provides a safe space for children who do not have a caregiver at home to gather after school, do homework and interact with others while being supervised by a "guardian" - a primary school teacher.

Ms Chen also said she is excited about finally being able to pay her volunteers an allowance.- CHEOW SUE-ANN