The Hong Kong Jockey Club announced today (6 March 2020) three additional initiatives to support the community through the challenges brought on by COVID-19. These include HK$42 million to provide free mobile internet data to underprivileged students to facilitate online learning, a HK$50 million top-up of its well-received “COVID-19 Emergency Fund” and HK$30 million towards the distribution of more anti-epidemic care packs to vulnerable groups.
The latest initiatives are an extension of a series of measures that the Club announced in February to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19, including the contribution of 680,000 masks. In line with its commitment to the community, the Club is continuing to strengthen efforts to provide innovative and effective support by working in conjunction with NGOs and various local business partners.
“The Club strives to act continuously for the betterment of our society. Facing the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, we are mobilising our in-house resources and capabilities, and working with like-minded community service partners to address urgent community needs. Our initiatives are helping over one million of the most vulnerable members of our society through the current situation, including the elderly, school children, ethnic minorities, those with disabilities and low-income families. I firmly believe that by caring for and working with each other with resilience and a can-do spirit, we can overcome the challenges stemming from the virus,” said Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges.
Free data bandwidth for school students during class suspension period
Working with NGO partners the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups and The Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong and with support from mobile carriers China Mobile Hong Kong, CSL, and SmarTone, the Club has approved a HK$42 million donation to provide free mobile internet data bandwidth to 100,000 underprivileged primary and secondary school students to facilitate online learning during the school closure period for two months.
Under the programme, mobile SIM cards with data plans will be given to underprivileged students, in particular, those living in sub-divided flats, old buildings or remote areas where high speed internet broadband access is not available. The programme will enable students to access hundreds of hours of real-time classroom learning per month, thus supporting children’s continued education even though they cannot physically be in school. Educational video clips from Principal Chan Free Tutorial World will also be made available to 30,000 cross-boundary Hong Kong students who are in the Mainland during the school suspension period.
Additional HK$50 million capital injection to Jockey Club COVID-19 Emergency Fund
In view of the great demand for funding, the Club is injecting a further HK$50 million to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund it announced on 14 February, bringing the total fund size to HK$100 million.
The grants to NGOs are aimed to enable urgent access to hygienic and protective supplies, assist with initiatives to enhance the physical and mental wellbeing of the needy, and support access to accurate safety and education information.
The response to the first round of funding has been swift and overwhelming. Within three weeks of its announcement, funds have already been allocated to 84 projects from 83 organisations that will benefit the elderly, people with disabilities, people with illnesses, ethnic minorities, school children and low-income families.
The Club has been expediting assessments, while ensuring due process, to enable the emergency grants to reach the hands of the NGOs in a timely manner amid the ongoing epidemic. The number of projects supported is expected to grow.
HK$30 million pledged to HKCSS for distribution of anti-epidemic care packs
Following the initial round of the delivery of care packs containing essential food and personal hygiene and household cleansing products to homebound elderly and the disabled, the Club is expanding this initiative.
It has pledged HK$30 million to the Hong Kong Council of Social Service for the distribution of care packs to people from vulnerable groups, including low-income families, CSSA recipients, underserved elderly, and families living in sub-standard housing. The two rounds of care pack delivery are expected to reach some 670,000 people in total.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Founded in 1884, The Hong Kong Jockey Club is a world-class racing club that acts continuously for the betterment of our society. The Club has a unique integrated business model, comprising racing and racecourse entertainment, a membership club, responsible sports wagering and lottery, and charities and community contribution. Through this model, the Club generates economic and social value for the community and supports the Government in combatting illegal gambling. In 2018/19, the Club made a record return to the Government of HK$23.3 billion in duty and profits tax and contributed HK$1.3 billion to the Lotteries Fund. Approved charity and community donations were HK$4.3 billion. The Club is Hong Kong’s largest single taxpayer and one of the city’s major employers. Its Charities Trust is also one of the world’s top ten charity donors. The Club is always “riding high together for a better future” with the people of Hong Kong.