New initiative aims to help Kampong Chai Chee residents stretch their dollar , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

New initiative aims to help Kampong Chai Chee residents stretch their dollar

Madam Rena Tan, a 72-year-old retired administrative officer, eats out around her neighbourhood at Kampong Chai Chee daily.

The Bedok North resident will now be able to stretch her dollar with a new programme launched by the Kampong Chai Chee (KCC) community club on April 20.

Called the Gd Lobangs @ KCC programme, the pilot initiative by grassroot leaders and neighbourhood merchants aims to provide discounts to residents in the estate to help them cope with the increasing cost of living in Singapore.

Residents who sign up for the Gd Lobangs @ KCC are issued stickers, which will give them discounts at three eateries within Heartbeat@Bedok for a start. The outlets are One Two Eat foodcourt, Sushi Express and Buddy Hoagies.

The initiative will benefit about 5,000 KCC residents – including blue and green Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) card holders.

For instance, blue Chas card holders issued with a KCC sticker can get 5 per cent off at Sushi Express and Buddy Hoagies, and 50 cents off at One Two Eat foodcourt with a minimum spend of $5.50 for main dishes.

A resident, who wants to be known only as Madam Tan, said it is a good effort, even though the discounts are limited and participating merchants are few.

“The savings are not a lot but will accumulate over time,” she said.

Mr Tan Kiat How, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and National Development and MP for East Coast GRC, said the initiative is to help residents cope with the rising costs of living by tapping the strong kampong spirit. He expects more merchants to come on board progressively.

This follows an earlier Kampong Chai Chee grocery vouchers assistance scheme, which has benefitted 1,022 residents since 2023. The scheme, limited to one applicant per household, provides a $50 voucher to help residents cope with rising grocery costs.

Another initiative, the WeCare@KCC spectacles assistance scheme, in partnership with Lenskart, provides free eye care and glasses for needy East Coast GRC residents, particularly children and seniors from lower-income households. Launched by Mr Tan in October, it has already benefited 312 residents.

Mr Darren Teng, organising chairman of Gd Lobangs @ KCC and treasurer of KCC community club’s management committee, said he and his team were actively talking to other merchants in the neighbourhood and two or three coffee shops may come on board soon.

Residents can check for updates on KCC’s telegram chat group and website.

The 45-year-old said: “When we walk the ground, we get feedback from residents that things are becoming more expensive. We will continue to tweak the programme to meet evolving needs.”

Ms Kimberly Tay, 24, a marketing executive with One Two Eat management – which just opened about a week ago – said: “We hope to make this a permanent promotion and selling point for the foodcourt.”

Mr Jason Tan, 39, head chef of Altcut Western Delights at the foodcourt, said it is a “win-win” for customers and merchants despite an estimated 3 per cent to 5 per cent drop in his profits.

“We help the residents here and at the same time, we build up our brand and following.”