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The School Pocket Money Fund Meets its Target This Year

04 January 2006 - For the sixth successive year, the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund has met its fund-raising target .

It has raised $3.2 million, $400,000 more than the target set by its Fund partner, the National Council of Social Service. This will enable the Fund to help an estimated 10,000 needy children who will apply for school pocket money next year.

Each child must come from a family whose per capita income is below $300. They must live in no larger than a four-room HDB flat.

Primary school beneficiaries receive $30 a month, with secondary schoolchildren getting $50. Needy children can apply for help at any Family Service Centre.

The Fund has raised over $17 million since it was started by The Straits Times in the year 2000. Of this, there is less than a year’s reserve remaining - $2.7 million to be exact.

Staff at Singapore Press Holdings volunteer to raise money for the Fund, with every cent raised going to the National Council of Social Service for them to administer.

Said Mr Peter Khoo, the Fund’s Organising Chairman: "Our heartfelt thanks must go to The Straits Times readers who continue to support our cause. We believe that children should not be deprived of a meal during recess to help them focus better in school.’’

Mr William Chew, Deputy Director, Service Development Division, National Council of Social Service agreed. He said: "From our experience and based on the number of applications, the School Pocket Money Fund is still very much needed to provide immediate and short term relief for school-going children. The pocket money for the children will go a long way to help every child in need have a dignified and conducive learning experience at school everyday. NCSS wishes to thank all disbursing VWOs for their commitment to our children."

The Fund also has a much understated value, that of opening doors for social workers to identify other domestic issues and administer assistance for these affected families.

Said Mr Khoo: "Often, there are more than just economic woes in the homes of our beneficiaries. Many of them are dysfunctional. Disbursing VWOs often use the Fund as a lever to administer holistic care to the family - from skills upgrading to job matching to counselling."

More information on the fund can be found on www.straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/spmf

For queries, please contact
Shahrena Hassan
Asst Manager
Editorial Promotions
Tel: 6319 5097
Mobile: 97966115
E-mail: shahrena@sph.com.sg

About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading media company in Singapore, in the print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. It publishes 13 newspapers in the four official languages and more than 80 magazine titles in Singapore and the region. Everyday, 2.8 million individuals, or 88 per cent of the people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications. Its Internet Business Unit manages the online editions of SPH’s major newspapers and magazines, which together enjoy over 300 million page views a month. SPH also owns a 20% stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8, U and TV Mobile, and a 40% stake in MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd, which publishes free newspaper Today. SPH operates two entertainment radio channels, UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English, under a joint venture company UnionWorks with NTUC Media, and owns an 80% stake in SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore´s largest LED network media company.