SINGAPORE — To encourage more children to be active in sports, the Singapore government will put in an additional $100 credit to the ActiveSG accounts of those aged between four and 12 on 1 May.
These credits can be used to cover entry fees for swimming pools and facility bookings, as well as pay for the cost of programmes such as ActiveSG academies and clubs, leagues and competitions.
This move was announced by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong in Parliament on Monday (6 March), during his ministry's Committee of Supply debate.
"We see the value in life-long learning, and we want to cultivate interest and participation in sports from young," he said.
"Through better access to sporting facilities and a greater variety of programmes, we hope that every Singaporean has ample opportunity to enjoy, engage and excel in sports."
Since 2014, a one-off S$100 credit has been given to all Singaporeans and permanent residents who sign up for ActiveSG membership. The credits can be rolled over to the next year if the members use their credits at least once in the current year.
Those who are below 12 can apply for supplementary memberships, tagged to the accounts of their parents or guardians.
Sports facilities to be introduced, refreshed
Several sports facilities in Singapore will be introduced or refreshed in the coming years.
The Kallang Football Hub and Kallang Tennis Centre are due to be completed by the second half of this year, with the sports community being able to enjoy seven indoor and 12 outdoor courts at the tennis centre, as well as four sheltered and three outdoor pitches at the football hub.
Jurong residents will be able to enjoy the ActiveSG Sport Village@Jurong Town when it opens in the first half of the year. It will consist of a full-sized hockey field, four sheltered courts for futsal and indoor hockey, two outdoor tennis courts, four outdoor pickleball courts, three football fields, a jogging path and outdoor fitness areas.
The proposed Toa Payoh Integrated Development - with sporting facilities such as swimming pools, indoor sports halls, sheltered courts, fitness studios and a football stadium - will be ready by 2030. There are plans for the development to house the national training centres for aquatics, netball and table tennis.
Meanwhile, the Singapore Sport Hall of Fame will be refreshed to recognise athletes who demonstrate a sustained contribution back to sport, beyond medal achievement. It will also include a new category for sport leaders such as administrators, coaches and scientists.
National monuments to undergo restoration
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) will also be beginning restoration works for several national monuments in the coming years.
The Istana will undergo major restorations works from early 2024, to address deterioration due to age and environmental conditions, and to update existing mechanical and electrical systems.
This will ensure that the building - which was gazetted collectively with Sri Temasek as national monument in 1992 - is well-preserved for its historical importance, and remains functional as a working government building and venue for important state events and community gatherings.
The National Museum of Singapore will also be carrying out restoration works to its building facade and facilities, starting from late this year to 2025. It will also review the content of its permanent galleries, including its Glass Rotunda experience.
It will remain open to the public while the restoration works are being carried out.
Both the former Istana Kampong Gelam - which houses the Malay Heritage Centre - and the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall will also be undergoing restoration and upgrading works from 2023 and 2024 respectively. These are expected to be completed in 2025, and the two heritage institutions will be closed for the duration of their respective works.
Plans for arts and heritage sectors
Minister Tong also shared in Parliament several shifts in the arts and heritage sectors planned in the coming years, after the National Arts Council (NAC) and National Heritage Board (NHB) consulted over 2,000 stakeholders in the past 20 months.
NAC will launch the "Our SG Arts Plan" roadmap later this year to develop Singapore’s arts scene for the next five years. It plans to roll out initiatives across three strategic thrusts:
It aims to create better access to the arts, expand arts touchpoints through partnerships, grow strong ties within and across diverse communities through the arts, and drive arts advocacy among the public, people and private sectors.
It aims to increase access to affordable public and private spaces, integrating the arts into spaces and places where people live, work and play, and growing vibrant precincts.
It seeks to create n arts sector defined by excellence, innovation, and close collaboration with stakeholders and partners in adjacent industries.
NHB, on the other hand, will also launch the "Our SG Heritage Plan 2.0" masterplan later this year, based on four building blocks:
Identity: There will be greater efforts to reflect a more layered understanding of the Singapore identity.
Community: NHB will step up efforts to partner citizens and community organisations, to enable more to get involved in the exploration and celebration of their heritage.
Industry: NHB will look to encourage industry efforts to safeguard and promote heritage.
Innovation: NHB will be exploring new digital strategies to utilise technology for celebration of Signapore's heritage.
"Our arts and heritage connect us across communities and across generations. They deepen our sense of shared identity," Tong said.
"These are the threads that bind us and hold our social compact together. Growing these aspects of Singapore is delicate work that requires the commitment of all of us."
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