An increasing number of young people are joining government community service programmes. The Opportunities for Youth Scheme (OYS), run by the Social Welfare Department, registered 9,500 participants during 1997, up 2,100 on the previous year. The department allocated $1 million to subsidise 151 youth volunteer projects. Director of Social Welfare Andrew Leung Kin-pong said the department set up a Central Office for Volunteer Service last year. He said a new project, Reaching Out to the Elderly - Opportunities for Volunteer Services, would be launched in 1998. The aim would be to motivate the community to respect and care for elderly people who needed help. Mr Leung was speaking at an annual OYS ceremony in Kowloon Park. Other guests at the event included Commission on Youth chairman Eric Li Ka- cheung and talented Hong Kong basketball player Yung Kam-wah.