Drop-in centre cash plea

A PIONEERING drop-in centre for single-parent families has repeatedly failed to win subsidies, despite the Government's promise to expand family welfare.

The refusals have forced the Hong Kong Family Welfare Society to continually seek outside sponsors for the Tuen Mun centre, set up in 1988.

The resource centre aimed to provide a relaxing atmosphere where single parents could drop in and not feel any stigma, said the society's principal social worker, Ellennie Hui Wai-chi.

The assistant director of the society, Cecilia Kwan Ho Shiu-fong, said the Government had recognised the project's success in encouraging single-parent families to come for help.

''But the Government has refused to put this new service model into its subvention list, despite the society's continuous demands. It said it could not do so as family welfare is not given a priority in funding,'' Mrs Kwan said.

She claimed the Government also failed to approve funding for the construction of a drop-in corner for one of the society's seven other government-subvented centres.

The refusal contradicted a speech by Social Welfare Department head Ian Strachan last May, in which he said families would be given priority because they were ''the most fundamental unit in the society''.

He said the Government would provide welfare agencies ''with capital support from the Lotteries Fund to make their premises attractive for families to use''.

Mrs Kwan said the operating cost of the resource centre was less than $2 million a year.