People suffering Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are not alone in encountering challenges in different phases of their lives, as their parents also have to face different kind of stress. To help better meet the needs of ASD-affected families, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has donated over HK$21 million to the Heep Hong Society (HHS), to establish the Jockey Club STAR Resource Centre and fund its services projects for three years. The comprehensive services being provided at the centre cater for the needs of both ASD persons and their families, two of the projects are “Holistic support service for ASD students” and “Employment support for high functioning individuals with ASD”.
Today (12 December), Club Deputy Chairman Anthony W K Chow joined Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam and Director of the Heep Hong Society Nancy Tsang at the opening ceremony of the Jockey Club STAR Resource Centre.
Mr Chow said the Club put strong emphasis on people with special needs, and the Jockey Club STAR Resource Centre was another initiative by the Club to support ASD persons and their families, following the JC A-Connect: Jockey Club Autism Support Network launched earlier this year. Its purpose was to further provide after-school support services to children, as well as vocational training for young people and classes for parents, enhancing support for these groups.
The Jockey Club STAR Resource Centre is located at Oi Man Estate in Ho Man Tin and has a floor area of 5,000 sq ft. It houses multi-purpose activity rooms and training rooms, as well as an interviewing and observation room, all aimed at providing ASD families with professional support. Over 450 youths, 420 students and over 1,000 parents are expected to benefit annually from the comprehensive range of services it offers.
The key services provided by the Jockey Club STAR Resource Centre include:
1. Building capacity for parents by enhancing their stress-coping skills and effective communication with their children
2. Providing social and learning support for students with ASD, thus strengthening their adaptation to the learning environment
3. Equipping ASD youths with career training and preparing them for the workplace environment
4. Promoting community education through a range of activities in order to raise public understanding of ASD and encourage social integration.
The Club has put strong emphasis in recent years on providing equal learning opportunities for students with special needs. In 2006 it initiated READ & WRITE: A Jockey Club Learning Support Network to help children with learning difficulties, and this year it earmarked funding of HK$167 million to pioneer a three-year programme entitled JC A-Connect: Jockey Club Autism Support Network (JC A-Connect) to enhance support for children with ASD and their families and schools, in collaboration with The University of Hong Kong and six non-governmental organisations. More than 300 schools have participated in this school-based programme, which also enables parents and families to seek help through 18 community centres across the city or visit the JC A-Connect website http://www.JCA-Connect.hk.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Founded in 1884, The Hong Kong Jockey Club is a world-class horse racing operator and Hong Kong’s largest community benefactor, as well as one of Asia’s most prestigious membership clubs. Operating as a not-for-profit organisation, the Club allocates its surplus funds for charitable and community projects. In 2014/15, its donations reached a record HK$3.87 billion, and in the last decade alone it supported over 1,300 projects. The Club is also Hong Kong’s largest single taxpayer, contributing a record HK$20.05 billion in 2014/15. With about 70% of its revenue given back to society every year through donations and tax contributions, The Hong Kong Jockey Club delivers a significantly higher return to the community than any other racing and/or sports betting organisation in the world. As a socially responsible organisation, the Club helps Government combat illegal betting and advocates responsible gambling. The Club is also one of Hong Kong’s largest employers with over 24,000 full-time and part-time staff. Committed to global excellence and giving back to society, the Club is always “riding high together for a better future” with the people of Hong Kong.
Club Deputy Chairman Anthony W K Chow says the Club puts strong emphasis on people with special needs, and the <strong><em>Jockey Club STAR Resource Centre</em></strong> is another initiative by the Club to support ASD persons and their families, following the JC A-Connect: Jockey Club Autism Support Network launched earlier this year.
Club Deputy Chairman Anthony W K Chow (2nd right) joins Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam (2nd left)and Chairman, Executive Committee of the Heep Hong Society Henry Au Yeung (1st left) and Trainee at the Heep Hong Society at the opening ceremony of the Jockey Club STAR Resource Centre.