Speech by SLW at Riding High Together Festival "The Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Project Grant 2017" announcement ceremony

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Following is the speech by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Stephen Sui, at the Riding High Together Festival "The Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Project Grant 2017" announcement ceremony today (April 14):

Dr Simon Ip (Chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club), Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges (Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Jockey Club), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     It gives me great pleasure to join the Hong Kong Jockey Club and community leaders from 65 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) at the third Riding High Together Festival. I am pleased to note that this afternoon also marks the announcement ceremony of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Project Grant 2017.

     Let me give my warmest congratulations to the Club for organising this flagship community event. The Easter holidays are a time of gratitude and hope.

The Riding High Together Festival not only celebrates Hong Kong's can-do spirit but also creates an excellent opportunity for families to spend their Easter holidays together on thoughtfully designed carnival programmes. This is yet one more example demonstrating the Club's care and support for the Hong Kong community.

     Through its work with NGOs, different community partners and the Hong Kong SAR Government, the Club has established platforms for cross-sectoral collaboration, bringing partners together to address important areas of social need and designing programmes to assist different needy groups. Drawing on its resources, the Club has helped pioneer innovative approaches of social service models, technological application and organisational capacity building - all with the aim to bring greater social impact.

     Making this occasion doubly special and important is the fact that the Club's Charities Trust will kick off a new round of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Project Grant this afternoon.

Established in 2005, the Community Project Grant complements the Government's existing provision and helps fill critical service gaps. By offering three years of recurrent funding, the Grant provides NGOs with the secure funding they need to plan and implement projects and maintain vital services. This year will see $117 million allocated to 65 agencies covering a wide array of services.

     I am particularly impressed to know that the Club will also be providing non-financial support to recipient NGOs in the form of training and experience-sharing.

This would enable NGOs to stay abreast of the latest local and global trends and enhance organisational capacity.

     The Government is dedicated to building a caring, inclusive and fair society for all. Issues such as poverty alleviation, care for the elderly and support for the disadvantaged are at the top of the current-term Government's agenda. We have devoted substantial resources to improve the livelihood of the grass roots over the past four years or so.

Specifically, as compared with the amount at the beginning of the current-term Government, recurrent expenditure on social welfare has increased by 71 per cent in five years, from $42.8 billion in 2012-13 to $73.3 billion in 2017-18. Over the period, poverty figures have edged downward. The Government will continue to allocate resources in this area and render assistance to people in need.

     While continuing with our unfailing commitment to improving welfare services, the Government also strives to introduce novel ideas to solve social problems, by channelling Hong Kong's rich social capital into positive supporting forces and promoting greater collaboration among the community, the business sector and the Government.

We have been playing the role of facilitator to promote this tripartite partnership. Various projects with differing targets were launched in this regard, such as the Partnership Fund for the Disadvantaged, the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund and the Child Development Fund, benefitting social groups such as disadvantaged children, elderly people, new arrivals, women, underprivileged youth, ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities and low-income working families.

     Ladies and gentlemen, an effective tripartite collaboration requires continuous and sustained effort, as well as creative thinking by the community, the business sector and the Government. In working with the Club and other community partners, the Government wishes to transform the concept of tripartite collaboration into action, and promote a caring culture to help those in need.

     I look forward to working hand in hand with the Club, as well as all NGOs here today, for the betterment of Hong Kong.

     On this ending note, let me wishing you all a blessed and joyful time throughout the Easter holidays.

Thank you.

Published on: 2017-04-14

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