Sarawak’s first Community Social Support Centre to open in Kuching, offers assistance to vulnerable communities

Fatimah (back row, second left) witnessing the exchange of documents between KPWK and Elica Sdn Bhd on establising a CSSC in Kuching.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Feb 10: The first of nine Community Social Support Centres (CSSCs) to be established in Sarawak will open in Kuching to provide social services, support and interventions for disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalised communities.

The Ministry of Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development (KPWK) has partnered with Elica Sdn Bhd for the project whereby the latter has offered its premises at Jalan Abell here to house CSSC Kuching without rental payment for five years.

In the memorandum of agreement (MoA) signed today, Elica Sdn Bhd will also sponsor the renovation of the premises as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR).

KPWK Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah pointed out that CSSC Kuching is a public-private-civil society cooperation which aims to bring positive impact in terms of social inclusiveness and wellbeing of the affected community facing social problems.

“In Sarawak, we do not yet have an integrated referral, support and social intervention centre within the community to address various social problems faced by vulnerable, risky and affected or VRA individuals, families and communities.

“They include the homeless, victims of domestic violence, those with mental health issues, families affected by substance abuse or addiction and any other social issues and problems.

“As such, establishing the community support, referral and social intervention facility for the VRA is part of GPS’ (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) commitment to the agenda of social inclusivity where no one is left behind in our efforts to become an advanced State with balanced development by 2030,” she said during the MOA ceremony for CSSC Kuching held at KPWK today.

Fatimah disclosed that similar centres are being planned for Sibu, Bintulu and Miri for which sites have been identified, as well as for Lawas, Mukah, Sri Aman and Kapit in the near future.

Responding to criticism that using commercial premises as a CSSC could be an eyesore, she said these issues will be addressed accordingly while giving assurance that the conceptual design for the centre will be beautiful as “we want it to be a dignified place”.

“Establishing a CSSC in Kuching will uplift the image of this beautiful city and reflect it as a city with heart and soul,” she added.

The CSSC, she elaborated, will also become the first social information report destination (Sifir) to detect, evaluate, screen, guide and provide counseling for those requiring help and support with social problems and issues.

Other services to be provided include a safe transit place for the homeless (TTG), training centre for women, soup kitchen, community food bank, teenagers and children’s activities area, social enterprise space and mental health services.

“Social issues and problems are too complex to be addressed in silo. Integrated, collaborative and holistic approaches are required from all walks of life, be it government agencies, private organisations, NGOs, and kind-hearted individuals.

“Together in the spirit of collective responsibility and actions, let us do something and care for Sarawak to strengthen the social wellbeing of our community,” she urged. — DayakDaily