“I am happy and have peace of mind knowing that there’s such a service near my home,” shares Madam Lim Ho Gnor.
The service she is referring to is none other than the WHEELS Programme, an initiative that recruits and trains volunteer seniors to provide wheelchair maintenance for low-income seniors reliant on wheelchairs.
The Moral Seniors Activity Centre at Kaki Bukit, which Madam Lim frequents, is one of five participating centres that offers the WHEELS Programme – an initiative by Temasek Foundation Cares, Kampung Senang Charity and Education Foundation and the Agency for Integrated Care.
The WHEELS Programme at Moral Seniors Activity Centre began in May 2017, and today has 11 technicians providing wheelchair servicing for 29 beneficiaries. Volunteers are trained within the centre or at the Kampung Senang facilities in Tampines.
Madam Lim first found out about the service in 2018 when she had some problems with her wheelchair brakes. “I approached the Centre Manager in Moral Seniors Activity Centre (Kaki Bukit) to see if they can do something about it. To my surprise, they were able to rectify my wheelchair braking issue. That is how I came to know about this programme.”
For 80-year-old beneficiary Madam Chua Gek Kiang, WHEELS has made life easier for her, “Instead of having to trouble my son and daughter to look into any problems with my wheelchair, I can now get my wheelchair assessed by Moral’s senior technicians. I am very pleased.”
As for the volunteers, they signed up for various reasons but are all driven by the same desire to help.
Volunteer technician Madam Tan Boon Hua, 76, who was already active at the centre, leapt at the chance to join WHEELS when it was first introduced. She explains, “I was inspired by my friend who is also a volunteer in the WHEELS Programme. I have weak legs myself, so I can understand how important a wheelchair is to the seniors. I will do my best to help seniors with wheelchair problems so that they are to move from point A to point B independently.”
Another volunteer who was also with the programme since its start is 74-year-old Mr Goh Eng Cheong. The Centre Manager enlisted him during a recruitment drive in May 2017. “At my age, being able to learn a new skill and help other seniors is one of the reasons I became a volunteer. I am happy that I am still able to contribute to society in a small way.”
As they say, age is no barrier to helping others.