Funds target middle class hit by crisis

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 March, 2009, 12:00am

Funding has been approved for community projects to help the middle class amid the financial crisis.

The chairman of the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund committee, Yeung Ka-sing, said yesterday that it was the first time the fund had targeted the middle class.

Joe Leung Cho-bun, a member of the fund committee, said the global meltdown had taken the middle class by surprise.

'These professionals may not have written a resume to apply for a job for 20 or 30 years, but now they may need to do so,' Professor Leung said. 'They also need to strengthen their adaptability and resilience at this difficult time.'

One of the successful applicants, the New Community Synergy project, will receive a total of HK$1.5 million over three years to provide services to 100 families in Southern district.

Alice Wan Ngai-teck of the Aberdeen Kai-fong Welfare Association Social Service Centre, who made the application, said that when the middle class encountered hardship they seldom shared their problems.

Ms Wan said the project would gather professionals to form a self-help group. Then they would organise service projects to offer their help to the grass roots.

'During the process, the participants will regain confidence and resilience to encounter hardships.'

One problem, she said, was that middle-class people mostly spent their time on work or their own families, so it might be difficult for them to be drawn out.

Another successful applicant, Joyce Tsui Yuk-ying of self-help organisation New Soho New Life Association, said the group would mobilise professionals to mentor the young. It has been given HK$2.3 million under a two-year project to help 250 school dropouts develop skills and interests in the media industry.

Ms Tsui said the association would mobilise its 100 members, who were mostly self-employed but facing economic hardship, to be mentors.

Family funding

A community care scheme has approved funding for 20 projects across the city

The number of families that will benefit: 4,500