In order to enhance epidemic control, the HKSAR Government has announced that from 9 December 2021 most public venues and all licensed eateries can only be accessed using the “LeaveHomeSafe” (LHS) mobile app. With some underprivileged senior citizens unable to afford a smartphone and therefore unable to access the “LeaveHomeSafe” app, The Hong Kong Jockey Club announced on 21 December 2021 an approved donation of HK$27 million from its Charities Trust to launch the Jockey Club Digital Support Project for the Elderly.
Launched in partnership with 12 non-government organisations (NGOs) and four local mobile network service providers, and facilitated by the HKSAR Government, the project will distribute LHS compatible smartphones together with 12-month free basic mobile service to around 20,000 underprivileged elderly. User training will be provided to help them learn the practical skills of using smartphones and mobile applications. A dedicated hotline 3507 7800 will also be set up to take enquiries from the public.
“With the “LeaveHomeSafe” app now mandatory in most public venues and all licensed eateries, we became aware that some underprivileged elderly, especially those who are not residing in residential care homes for the elderly, do not have smartphones and therefore cannot access the app. Partnering with NGOs and mobile network service providers we want to help address this urgent and immediate need,” said the Club’s Executive Director, Charities and Community, Leong Cheung.
The Club’s support for the project, like all of its charity donations, is made possible by its unique integrated business model through which racing and wagering generate tax and charity support for the community. Committed to the betterment of society, the Club is one of the world’s top ten charity donors.
Beneficiaries do not have to pay for service enrolment. To be eligible applicants must be recipients of the Social Welfare Department’s Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme at the time of assessment; aged 65 and above; not residing in residential care homes for the elderly; and not owning a smartphone. All applicants must be referred by social workers of the District Elderly Community Centres (DECCs) or Neighbourhood Elderly Centres (NECs) operated by the 12 NGO partners.
Social workers will conduct an initial assessment of elderly applicants and refer cases to designated centres for further screening and approval. The 12 NGO partners include: Aberdeen Kai-fong Welfare Association Social Service, Caritas – Hong Kong, Christian Family Services Centre, Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service – Hong Kong, Haven of Hope Christian Service, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council Limited, Hong Kong Society for the Aged, Hong Kong Young Women’s Christian Association, Neighbourhood Advice-Action Council, Salvation Army, St. James’ Settlement, and Yan Oi Tong.
Dr Jane Lee, Director of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Association, which is participating in the project, welcomed the initiative. She said the Club had quickly launched the project with its partners, providing smartphones and a mobile SIM card in a short timeframe. This will help alleviate the urgent needs of underprivileged seniors.
Participating mobile network service providers, namely 3 Hong Kong, China Mobile Hong Kong, CSL and SmarTone will support the project via their corporate social responsibility schemes. They will provide technical support to NGO partners.
For more information and enquiries about the project, please contact 3507 7800 or visit the project website: https://jc-elderly.digital/home/.