Breaking down barriers: How young people, community groups work to build a cohesive society

In Media mentions by Beyond Research

In Straits Times newspaper Feb 4, 2018:

“While some surveys show the divides of race and religion easing, others point to how class divisions are sharpening. In the second of an occasional series supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Senior Social Affairs Correspondent Theresa Tan explores how some young people and community groups are working to build a cohesive society.”

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Competent Communities Overview

In Resources, Toolkits by Beyond Research

Authors: Gerard Ee, Kokila Annamalai, Samuel Tang

Renewing our focus on bringing together people from different walks of life and empowering them requires us to reframe our role from professional service providers to professional facilitators. This document serves to guide and re-organise our efforts with a view to becoming more intentional in creating empowered communities and a compassionate society.

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Activating Local Community

In Reports, Resources by Beyond Research

Author(s): Samuel Tang, Gerard Ee for publication in “Mobilising Diverse Community Assets to meet Social Needs” IPS Exchange Series (2017) 12: 104-122

This article outlines the reasons and approach that Beyond Social Services takes in its pursuit of developing communities from the inside out. It identifies 4 best practices in the work that have been integral to the empowering the local community

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Another Week Beyond – 1740

In Resources by Beyond Research

A group of volunteers started out with a simple question, “What if we could take a group of less privileged kids and have them feel so special and experience so much love and joy that they could ignite the same in their own homes and lives as well?” The question got them excited and they eventually conceptualised SUPERHERO WOW DAY, where these kids could be superheroes for a day and see the possibilities how they may improve their own lives and that of those around them.

Educator Deborah Meier believes that children use fantasy to get into the real world and in this vein, volunteer group LP151 certainly got it right as they mapped out activities for our children to live the life of a superhero for a day; designing their very own costumes, undertaking secret missions and taking home a memento that will remind them of a day where they were unafraid to stand for what they believed in. LP151 showed us that with a little passion and hearts in the right place, people can come up with meaningful and impactful initiatives. Here is the programme flow that these volunteers proposed and executed.

Dhatin, a mother of xx children told us that it was the most enjoyable activity ever that her children had participated in. Usually, her children are at home with not much to do except to watch television after they are done with their homework. So, it made her very happy to see the void deck below her flat transformed into fantasy playground for her children. The activity also enabled her to observe how capable her children were. She was pleasantly surprised that her 4-year-old could differentiate between the “fish” he was supposed to catch and the “trash” that he was to discard. At the end of the day, she was a proud mother thinking about how she could encourage her children to excel.

All of us tend to thrive when we are in the company of nurturing people and LP151 was the loving, respectful and trusting adult presence that assured our children that they are capable of learning. Their presence also gave children the confidence to share what they have learned. We found it most encouraging hearing children say that they learned that they must always try to be helpful.

“Ignite Love, Ignite Joy, Empower All” is the motto of this volunteer group and we think they certainly lived up to it.

Enjoy your weekend


Life doesn’t give us purpose. We give life purpose. – The Flash

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Strengthening Communities in Low-Income Families in Singapore

In Reports, Resources by Beyond Research

Author(s): Members from LKYSPP, Ng Lin Kai, Chua Hui Chee, Xiong Hao Ming, Mohammed Masrahi

46 in-depth interviews with households in low-income neighbourhoods were conducted to find out how local stakeholders (such as Beyond Social Services, Resident’s Committee, Family Service Centre, and the community residents) can best support low-income families to integrate into the larger community. These interviews analysed the relationships between individuals (micro) as well as between community stakeholders (macro).

The macro analysis revealed that there were problems with community stakeholders collaborating with each other, problems with the representativeness of community leaders and that sources of funding decided the bargaining power of stakeholders. The micro analysis revealed that there was a lack of effective platforms needed to bridge segregated social networks, a lack of meaningful activities and emotional support to bond residents.

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Youth Participation in BSS Activities

In Reports, Resources by Beyond Research

Author(s): Republic Polytechnic School of Management and Communications
Youth and their caregivers were surveyed regarding how they perceive activities in Beyond Social Services and why they choose to participate or not participate in these events. The findings indicate that while the activities are perceived as meaningful, the timing and need to attend with friends makes an activity more or less accessible to youth. Recommendations include broadening the range of activities and creating more ownership of these activities with the youth.
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Social Welfare Policy in Singapore

In Reports, Resources by Beyond Research

Author: King Yu Yen
13 semi-structured interviews were carried out on members of the low-income community to explore their experiences as recipients of welfare. The interviews sought to understand the reasons why they sought financial aid, and the difficulties they faced in seeking welfare. The information was categorised according to existing welfare schemes, and suggestions are made for how community or non-governmental funds might be tailored to fill the gaps.
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Education Survey

In Reports, Resources by Beyond Research

Author: Jamie Chen

Based on their report cards in 2015, we surveyed the grades of primary school students from low-income communities. Despite the consistently high attendance of children in primary school, most were failing at least 1 subject, with 42.4% failing 2 subjects in primary school. The study suggests that English, as the mode of presentation of classroom lessons, could be a determinant for performance in other subject like Mathematics and Science.

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Another week beyond

In Another Week Beyond, Reflections by VairamLeave a Comment

With the help of The Societe Generale -Singapore Cricket Club Junior Rugby Academy, 15 boys and girls are getting a chance to play the game and to be part of a team. The drills during training are strenuous and every time someone makes a mistake the entire team is “punished.” For someone watching from outside the field, it seems unfair for the coach to insist on collective responsibility for the mistake of one person.  It also seems strange that the players do not protest but continue to give their utmost cooperation after fulfilling each “punishment.”

Just 6 weeks ago, these boys and girls were often getting into disagreements with each other. Name calling, minor scuffles and bullying were the norm and it was difficult to picture them as a cohesive group where members encouraged each other but at the last training session, they were pushing each other to run a little faster as well as offering praise and concern where appropriate.


Two brothers tell us that they enjoy the drills because they feel like they are getting better at them with every training session. They like the way the coach explains things to them whenever they are confused and it appears that they deeply appreciate how someone takes the trouble to help them learn.  This was encouraging news for us because both have a history of   staying away from home whenever they feel that they have been bullied. The game also seems to have given them a self-belief that they are no pushovers for bullies.

With sport, young people have a context to practice decision-making, leadership, self-discipline, team-work and even a generosity of spirit and kindness toward others.  It is the foundation for a healthy lifestyle and friendships across social divides.  People from different backgrounds can be on the same team and as such, it is a good social leveler.

Next week, Singapore is hosting the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series on 15 & 16 April 2017 at the iconic Singapore Sports Hub. It is a top-class tournament and a huge sporting fiesta and our boys and girls will get to go.

Enjoy your weekend.

Rugby has always been a game for all shapes and sizes. You have the superstars and the fast guys who score the tries, but you also need the workhorses and the people who play all the other roles. Unless they all work together as a team then it’s really going to affect the performance. Everyone’s got to rely on everyone else. – Warren Gatland