Hi Guys, Lydia here! Just wanted to share some thoughts as to why we decided to set up this Charity and why we are embarking on a fund-raising drive.
It's quite nerve-wrecking as we rush to set up a Charity as the last StoryTime event comes to a close.
These past 8 months, the StoryTime efforts have been kindly funded by Our Singapore Fund. While the initiative is supported up to 50% by the Government, the remaining 50% have been largely borne by myself.
I did not expect the event to grow and take a life of its own. While I had estimated that there would be operational costs, it was one thing to project and forecast a set of numbers, and another to see it actually being deducted from my bank account.
The founding team and myself started discussing as to how to continue the traction that StoryTime had developed. After a few rounds of discussion, we admitted that there was no way to financially sustain this movement, unless we turned it into a Charity.
It is very nerve-wrecking to set up a Charity. What with all the hoo-ha over the last few Charity scandals, I must confess setting up the Charity was one of my last options. Early in 2017, I spent many months reaching out to Foundations and large Corporations but to no avail. Many asked for KPIs (what KPIs can I give them in an elderly event?) or even for track record (it was a new initiative) and others turned me away because they were not interested in these kind of elderly events. Some requested for us to be a Charity or NPO before they could donate to us (I hope these people keep to their word).
So me being the stubborn person I am, I decided to go ahead with the initiative, out of my own pocket. We cater food for 150 pax for each event and we are due to hold our 5th event soon. I don't like to think about how much I have spent. But this August will be the last event for the year, until we can find more donations and sponsors.
There is a gap in the elderly voluntary scene. Many voluntary activities now purely revolve around day-to-day activities (bringing them food and to see the doctor) but Society at large tend to shun away from these activities. We saw a gap for opportunities of interaction between families and the less privileged elderly. Many of the elderly that we see from the Senior Activity Centres stay at rental flats and often are lonely and without their own families. We did not realise how well the elderly would take to having the public at large bring their families to interact with them, but the elderly loved it and now look forward to our events.
Over the past few months, we have received many requests for StoryTime to be held at various VWOs but due to financial and manpower constraints, we are often not able to accede to these requests.
While StoryTime is quite well-established in terms of volunteers, we are now starting a new programme CuriousTime@VWOs where we seek to bring trained educators to conduct consistent, structured programmes at shelters and residential homes for children. This is another big gap that we saw and I shall share more another time (as this area deserves a post by itself).
Till then, I'm hoping that as the Charity status of this new organisation- Curious Thoughts Giving- is finalised, that more people will come to support it with their time and money.