Springboard charity fears funding crisis over name

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 September, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 September, 2001, 12:00am

A charity group for special needs children is concerned that the similarity of its name to the government-funded Project Springboard would adversely affect fundraising efforts.

Bridget Nisbet, the committee chairwoman of Springboard Project Ltd, said there already had been several inquiries as to whether the two organisations were connected.

The Springboard Project, a limited company recognised by the Social Welfare and Education Departments, was established in 1994 by a group of parents concerned about a chronic shortage of international school places for children with special needs. It offers a primary and secondary programme for about 20 children with the Korean International School at Sai Wan Ho. It also provides extra-curricular activities in conjunction with a number of international schools.

The government-funded Project Springboard has been co-ordinated by 10 member institutes of the Federation for Continuing Education in Tertiary Institutions since last year. It allows students who failed the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examinations to gain a qualification comparable to five subject passes in the public exam.

Ms Nisbet was particularly worried that confusion over the name would have a serious effect on fundraising. 'People will think that we are a government-funded group and ask why they should give money to us,' she said. The group's target each year is more than $600,000.

Dr Edwin Wong King-po, chairman of the Project Springboard management committee, said that he had never heard of The Springboard Project and that the use of a similar name was coincidence. He said the word 'springboard' was chosen to show that the programme was a channel for failed Form Five students to jump to alternative paths.

Dr Wong said he would consider talks with The Springboard Project after consulting with committee members.