(Jesus said) “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Ms Junie Foo
Chief Executive Officer
The world spent 2021 in a continuous wrestle with COVID-19 with vaccinations rolling out even as new variants of the virus emerged and waves of infection circled the globe. It has been said that the pandemic has an unequal impact on people. This rings truer for those we serve, many of whom were already in vulnerable situations. Their circumstances were often made worse by the economic and psychological uncertainties caused by COVID-19, either directly or indirectly.
Like others in the sector, MWS staff and operations were tested to the limits on many occasions as we strove to maintain top quality of service and care for our beneficiaries. Yet, in the darkest hour, I saw our staffʼs fierce resolve, deep compassion and sacrificial team spirit shining through.
The experiences of these uncertain times have underscored the importance of a strong core and clear identity – who we are, what we do, and why it matters – so that we can remain steadfast in service.
In FY2021/22, we held our first ever virtual Staff Townhall that saw a recommitment to a singular purpose – to empower people to have life to the full. We recognise that despite the diversity of our programmes/services and beneficiary profiles, we have a singular cause in holistic poverty alleviation. Our beneficiaries all experience poverty in different aspects of their well-being, from poor health to broken relationships, impoverished hope to financial constraint. It is based on this conviction and our Christian mission to love and care for the last, the lost and the least that we continue to strengthen our core.
In April 2021, MWS Girlsʼ Residence moved into a spanking new home at Upper Thomson Road which provides an even more conducive rehabilitative environment for our at-risk youths. I am also pleased with the opening of our new MWS Senior Care Centre – Eunos, the first senior care centre in MWS. With the Centre situated next to a polyclinic, we will be able to partner our healthcare stakeholders to bring about a healthier Singapore. Together with our upcoming third nursing home at Still Road and the transition of our Senior Activity Centres into Active Ageing Centres under the new Eldercare Model, I believe we are well-placed to continue meeting the communityʼs evolving eldercare needs.
More than providing remedial services, we have also been actively driving conversations and policy reviews in the sector. I am thankful for the passion and leadership in our Family Services cluster who had been actively collaborating with community partners to strengthen support for families we serve. The teamʼs work on the impact of trauma, especially family violence, will go a long way to raising awareness of this growing issue. Through these and other efforts, we hope to galvanise many more to speak up and serve along with us.
In strengthening our core, we have also been investing in our staff – the very people who power through every day at MWS. FY2021/22 saw extensive efforts in leadership development. I am proud that we launched MWS Step-Up Leadership Programme last year, which saw 14 MWS employees undergo a structured learning programme in leadership and people management. Beyond their contribution to MWS, I look to the day when they will multiply their impact by nurturing the next generation of servant leaders to help those in need.
Strengthening the core also means investing in our staffʼs well-being and COVID-19 has certainly changed employeesʼ priorities and the way of work. To give staff more choice, we introduced Flexible Leave in 2021, designed to help staff meet their needs in their specific season. Monthly wellness workshops and well-being tips, among other initiatives, also provide staff with practical handles for better work-life balance. Furthermore, we now have 2 additional Employee Assistance Programme providers which staff can leverage on, if needed.
2021 was also memorable because it was the year MWS marked our 40th Anniversary. In all these years, we have built up a very robust foundation in remedial care, serving both the young and the elderly. Leveraging on this strong core, MWS will be introducing more services that provide preventive care if the opportunity presents. In July 2022, we launched the Strengthening Families Programme@Family Service Centre (MWS FAM@FSC) that aims to support couples facing marital challenges and families showing early signs of stress.
In addition, we will continue to strengthen our operational capability and some of our plans include expanding the network of MWS Nursing Homes, so as to cater to Singaporeʼs ageing population.
We also hope to set up a dedicated research team within MWS that will support us in delivering insight-informed and evidence-based care. All these are part of our strategy that is built on 2 key principles and comprises 4 main pillars.
We go beyond addressing the presenting issues to consider people’s aspirations, values, lifestyles, social circumstances, need for social inclusion and the underlying trauma triggers of behaviours.
We believe that beneficiaries are not helpless ‘victims’. They can be empowered to draw on strengths and resources to create more positive and sustainable change.
Synergise resources and enhance processes to improve decision making and service delivery.
Ensure that our care approach and interventions are underpinned by in-depth client insights.
Nurture beneficiaries and their communities to uplift vulnerable people in their neighbourhoods and create a more sustainable support network.
Ensure greater consistency in standards that are scalable and responsive to the needs of
None of this would have been possible if not for the belief and support of the MWS Board of Governance, Centre Governance Committees, Working Committees, donors, volunteers, Methodist churches and community partners. Thank you for coming alongside us and making us stronger, our work lighter.
While much of Singapore may be celebrating the return to some semblance of normality, many of our frontline staff continue to work around uncertainties to bring certainty to our beneficiaries. They are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for soldiering on.
My wish for MWS is that we will always remain Christ-like and steadfast in our mission, and in doing so, usher our Lordʼs kingdom just a little closer to those who need His loving kindness and grace.
To God be the Glory.
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