With the completion of the YWCA Building at 6 Fort Canning Road, the National Office moved to the YWCA Building after 20 years at the Orchard Plaza premises.
On 31 August 2001, our Chaplin, Reverend Melvin Huang officiated the blessing of the National and Fort Canning Lodge offices, staff quarters and the YWCA Building at the Quiet Room located at the Fort Canning Lodge. It was well attended by Board members, volunteers and staff. Rev Huang led a meditation, reminding us of what was important in our lives and a unison prayer was said, thanking God for all present, whose love and devotion have become great inheritance for the YWCA.
Four Special Committees were set up – Child Care Services, Board Governance, Planning and Constitution – to make recommendations for changes to prepare the YWCA to meet 21st century challenges.
The organisational structure of the Association was streamlined. The Zone committees were replaced by a management committee for each child development centre, supervised by a Child Development Programme Committee.
The Fellowship Committee was renamed the Programme Development Committee to take charge of Activities, Christian Growth, Publications and Projects.
The Fort Canning Lodge (FCL) became the venue for many events with important guests.
The SCWO held its International Women’s Day dinner at Fort Canning Lodge. The guest of honour was Mr S. R. Nathan, the then President of Singapore. He would visit FCL again as the guest of honour at a dinner hosted by the Inner Wheel Club of Singapore held in the same year.
In July, the then Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Goh Chok Tong, presented the keynote address at the Asean Confederation of Women’s Organisations’ 10th General Assembly and Conference held at Fort Canning Lodge together with many other dignitaries.
Fort Canning Lodge also welcomed Mr AP Yaacob Ibrahim, then Acting Minister for Community Development and Sports as guest of honour at the closing ceremony of the ACWO 10th General Assembly and Conference, which was attended by almost 200 participants from Asean, Taiwan and Europe.
Concerned with corporate governance, the Board under Ms Tan Kee Leng, the President of the YWCA, established a Code of Ethics and Rules of Board Governance. A manual of Board of Governance was also set up.
A Planning Committee was formed to look into the use of the Association resources for more efficient and effective use, to reduce wastage and costs, to introduce new programmes to meet the needs of society and to set up training for teaching staff to attend to the care and development of children with special needs. The Association also started to extend pre-school education to children who have mild special needs in three of its child development centres which were appointed ICCP (Integrated Child Care Programme) Centres by the then Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.
The Fellowship committee became the Programme Development committee, which was in charge of activities, Christian Growth, publications and projects.
The Family Link Scheme was launched in November 2002, in partnership with The Haven, a Salvation Army home for children. It aimed to provide a family link and touch to children from disadvantaged families.
Singapore was affected by SARS in 2003, and the YWCA was not spared as it affected the Association’s activities in the enrolment at the child development centres and the occupancy of FCL, which dropped to below 10%.
The Outram Road Centre was renovated mainly with funds from the Outram Centre Building Fund. A Thrift Shop was opened there and sale proceeds were channeled towards YWCA’s community services. Meals-On-Wheels services to the elderly extended to cover the areas of Bukit Merah View, Lengkok Bahru, Mei Ling Street, Redhill Close, Cantonment Road, Chinatown and Holland Drive.
The National Office moved from the YWCA Building at Fort Canning Road to 254 Outram Road. The Serangoon Child Development Centre closed in the same time period.
Joy Talks started in 2003 with sessions on the last Monday of each month. It was a lunchtime praise and worship session that included a short message by invited pastors and speakers.
The Integration Programme for Children with Special Needs (Mild) as well as an Educational Support Unit was launched. Its objectives were to identify and integrate pre-school children with learning needs into the mainstream education system. An Infant Care centre was also set up in Outram Child Development Centre.
The Best Centre Award was created to encourage the staff of the kindergarten and child development centres to work towards excellence in their centre. The first award was presented to McNair Child Development Centres.
The Fun With a Flair fun fair was held on 10 July 2004 with Mr Chan Soo Sen, then Minister of State for Education as guest of honour.
The biennial Muzikalthon event was initiated to raise funds for our community services. It was a great success, with an audience of 400 and 31 performances.
In 2004, a Street Collection was held instead of the usual Flag Day. Sling pouches were given to donors who donated a minimum sum of $1.
The Thrift Shop changed its name to Garage Sale @ Outram Centre to give a contemporary identity to the fundraising enterprise.
The Social Enterprise Committee (SEC) was formed to develop and set up a social enterprise – a business with a social mission, to help women develop their skills and talents, and work towards financial independence. Under the Social Enterprise Committee, Craft Circles were started and classes were conducted by Mrs Ow Ay Giok.
YWCA members and staff participated in the making of Singapore’s first national tapestry under the nationwide “Fabric of the Nation” project, held in conjunction with the 40th birthday of Singapore. The members and staff were invited to submit patchwork blocks, which Mrs Ho Lay Hong and many other volunteers sewed into a wall-hanging patchwork mural which were then displayed as part of the national tapestry at the HDB Mall in Toa Payoh from 8 April 2004 to 31 December 2006. The mural now hangs in the main meeting room of the National Office.
The YWCA Charity Bears project under the charge of Mrs Ho Lay Hong had Sasha bears dressed in the uniforms of YWCA childcare centres to sell to raise funds for the YWCA.
The YWCA raised money for the 2004 tsunami in December and collected 183 cartons of clothes, blankets and food items.