FUN Starters, a multi-sport programme introduced in the community last November, aimed at uplifting the lives of children aged 5 to 12 living in public rental housing through sport, was officially launched today by Mr Eric Chua, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Social and Family Development. FUN Starters is a joint initiative of SportCares, the philanthropic arm of Sport Singapore (SportSG), and Temasek Foundation.
Temasek Foundation has committed around S$316,000 over a two-year period to the programme which is in response to the growing need for positive recreational activities for children living in public rental housing. Many families living in public rental housing face financial challenges that make it difficult for them to provide their children with opportunities to participate in sport. FUN Starters aims to bridge this gap by providing a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment for children to learn and develop new skills, build confidence and self-esteem, and improve their overall well-being.
SportCares and Temasek Foundation will be working with Social Service Offices through Ministry of Social and Family Development’s (MSF) Community Link (ComLink) initiative and non-profit groups to ensure that the programme reaches its target of engaging about 120 children across four towns – Kreta Ayer, Queenstown, Tampines and Yishun – over a two-year period. The programme will be offered free of charge, and all equipment and materials will be provided, with weekly sessions conducted in community spaces close to participants’ residential location. SportCares will also work closely with community leaders, schools, and other organisations to ensure that the children receive the support they need to succeed both on and off the field. In addition, SportCares will engage parents of these children to also emphasise on building healthy habits such as eating well, sleeping well and screen-time management.
Commenting on the launch of FUN Starters, SportSG’s Chief of Sport Development Group, Marcus Tan, said: "We are pleased to launch this community sport programme, which we believe will have a significant impact on the lives of children living in rental communities. Sport has the power to inspire, motivate, and transform lives, and working alongside national initiatives such as ComLink, we are committed to using that power to be a force for good.”
Mr Tan added that it makes it easier when like-minded entities join this journey. “We are encouraged and appreciative of Temasek Foundation’s support. Temasek Foundation has chosen to come on board this journey with us to change lives through sport. Our participants will have more opportunities at hand as they pick up new skills, in and out of sport.”
Mr Lim Hock Chuan, Head of Programmes at Temasek Foundation said: "Participating in sport can help children to improve their health, develop traits like perseverance and teamwork, and learn how to handle victories and losses. Through FUN Starters, we hope to create a community that not only promotes physical fitness but also builds character and a sense of belonging in our children. By leveraging the power of sport, we aim to develop confident and well-rounded individuals who will grow up to become responsible and contributing members of society.
FUN Starters will offer a range of sport activities depending on interest amongst the children, over four terms annually, with each term lasting about 10 weeks. The sport will be led by experienced coaches who will tailor the programme plan to meet the needs and interests of the children. There will also be workshops and training sessions on related topics, such as nutrition, injury prevention, and sportsmanship, with some opportunities for family members to participate.
Speaking at the launch, 35-year-old Head Coach of Legends Fight Sport and three-time SEA Games (2011, 2013 and 2015) bronze medallist, Muhamad Ridhwan, said, “It has been a great experience for me and my team of coaches to be involved in FUN Starters. All of us at Legends are always looking out for opportunities to give back to the community and at the same time, introduce the sport of boxing to children and youth. So, when we connected with SportCares last year and the offer to partner on this initiative came about, we did not have to think twice about it.”