SPD marks 60th anniversary with 4 new centres , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

SPD marks 60th anniversary with 4 new centres

For its 60th anniversary in 2024, SPD will be launching four new centres to serve more needs.

The charity, which helps people with disabilities of all ages, launched a senior care centre in Canberra in April, and will open another at Melody Springs in Yishun later in 2024 to provide daycare and rehabilitation for seniors, as well as adults with disabilities or disabling conditions.

In July, two early intervention centres at Kembangan and Jurong West will start operations to provide early intervention services for children with developmental needs.

It is a busy year, said SPD chief executive officer Abhimanyau Pal in an interview with The Straits Times on June 3 at the SPD Ability Centre in Tiong Bahru.

Founded in November 1964 by a group from the Rotary Club, SPD was known as the Society for Aid to the Paralysed and provided employment opportunities at its sheltered workshop to people with disabilities who had difficulties seeking open employment. It was renamed Society for the Physically Disabled in May 1998 and subsequently to just SPD in July 2014 to better reflect its service to people beyond physical disabilities.

Today, it serves people with physical, sensory and learning needs through more than 20 programmes encompassing early intervention, therapy, vocational training, assistive technology, daycare, as well as educational, employment and social service support. It has eight centres, including in Jurong East, Tampines and Toa Payoh.

SPD’s manpower resources had risen from 54 in the early 2000s to about 130 in 2009. It will grow to 500 employees by the end of 2024.

Mr Pal quipped: “While I used to see just grey or no hair in my conference room, I see more dark hair today as younger staff, including fresh graduates, join us.”

The 58-year-old, who has more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare and social service sectors, has helmed SPD since 2010.

SPD has three growth pillars. There is early intervention for young children, help for the post-18 to 55 with education through scholarships and bursaries, and vocational training and employment. It has also operated a therapy hub since 2005, working with other social and community partners to provide allied health services in the community.

Every year, SPD has been serving more than 10,000 individuals with disabilities or who may develop disabling conditions.