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Better Support For Caregivers Of Persons With Disabilities Through New Singapore Together Alliance For Action
05 Mar 2021
A new Singapore Together Alliance for Action (SG Together AfA) will be formed by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), SG Enable and community partners to co-create solutions on pressing issues faced by caregivers of persons with disabilities. This initiative will complement the 3rd Enabling Masterplan, which highlighted the need to improve caregivers’ well-being and enhance their caregiving capabilities through the creation of more peer support and informal support networks. Strengthening support for caregivers of persons with disabilities was also an area highlighted by participants in the Emerging Stronger Conversations.
Caring for persons with disabilities is important but can be challenging, at times overwhelming, and often lonely. Caregivers need to have more respite opportunities, the means to take better care of their own health and well-being while caring for others, with access to support and insights from other caregivers. This has been a recurring theme in discussions among SG Enable’s Coalition of Partners for Caregiver Support. The Coalition, set up in 2018, comprises 25 community partners, social service agencies and hospitals committed to providing support to caregivers./li>
SG Enable and the Coalition have co-created a Caregiver Action Map, with more than 60 ideas, that will be a guide and inspiration for organisations seeking to develop solutions to better support caregivers of persons with disabilities. The ideas generated were based on feedback from the ground, including caregivers themselves. For a start, the SG Together AfA for Caregivers of Persons with Disabilities will focus on developing solutions related to self-care and mutual support. SG Enable will form action teams comprising stakeholders with common interests for peer mentorship and other informal support programmes, and coordinate these efforts. NCSS will facilitate the collaborative process and avail consultancy services to support the action teams.
The SG Together AfA approach allows for sustainable and effective partnerships through a structured approach, which in turn translates into more impactful actions and outcomes for those in need. This approach is based on a clear role delineation for different partners with focus on action and support from a coordinating function that enables the implementation of innovative and effective solutions. It also allows for participation and ownership by service users and the community in addressing complex social issues. If successful, the approach can be applied to other issues./li>
What are some possible SG Together AfAs that can be set up for the social sector?
Social issues that require the input of multiple stakeholders could be addressed through a SG Together AfA model. Based on research data and ground sensing, NCSS assesses that SG Together AfAs can be set up to look at improving social-health integration of services, uplifting low-income families, improving education outcomes for at-risk youths, and developing more accessible and integrated support for persons with mental health conditions.
What resources can a SG Together AfA tap on?
In terms of approach, stakeholders who are keen to start a SG Together AfA or already working on collaborative projects can seek guidance or more information on the model from NCSS. NCSS may also offer consultancy support, in partnership with relevant experts, to stakeholders who experience challenges in implementing collaborative projects. The SG Together AfAs can also consider applying for existing programme grants or seek out interested donors for support.
How should each SG Together AfA identify issues and action teams?
The social issue to be addressed by an SG Together AfA should be identified through research data, ground sensing by social service agencies and feedback from service users. Concurrently, the service landscape for the issue at hand should be studied to understand existing programmes and services, as well as service gaps.
The SG Together AfA should also reach out to stakeholders assessed to have an interest in or can value add to the issue. Potential partners can also proactively express an interest to participate.