Latest HKJC community programmes put focus on heritage and environment

23 September 2008

The Hong Kong Jockey Club is dedicated to providing timely and multifaceted support to meet the city's evolving social needs. In 2007/08, the Club donated HK$1.052 billion to some 109 community and charitable projects. A notable feature of this year's donations list is that it includes more funding for projects related to environmental protection and heritage conservation, in line with the Club's aim of enhancing the quality of life in Hong Kong.

Today (23 September) the Club's Executive Director, Charities, Mr William Y Yiu, briefed the media on five of the new projects: the Environment Project; Project WATERMAN; The Conservancy Association Centre for Heritage; a Community Education Programme on Heritage Conservation and Rejuvenation in Wan Chai District; and a Leadership and Organisational Development Programme for Ethnic Minorities.

Environmental protection

To spread the green message more effectively, the Club is making HK$350 million available to initiate a citywide Environment Project. The initiative is aimed at arousing the public's awareness of environmental issues and influencing their mindset, behaviour and attitude through various educational programmes. The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course will take the lead by introducing four solar-powered boats with hybrid engines for its ferry service between the Golf Course and Sai Kung pier. This will demonstrate the Club's environmental awareness and alertness and its commitment to meet stringent environmental standards in the running of the golf course.

The ocean is one of Hong Kong's most valuable natural resources. However, the current water quality monitoring system only provides after-the-fact data. This in turn delays the implementation of contingency measures when the water quality is getting worse. The Club has therefore earmarked HK$29.76 million for The University of Hong Kong to develop a water quality forecast and management system for Hong Kong, entitled Project WATERMAN. This system will not only deliver real-time information on current water conditions, but also provide forecasts for the next few days. The public will be able to access the system through the Internet.

Cultural heritage conservation

As regards heritage conservation, the Club believes that emphasis should be placed not only on historic buildings and relics, but also on intangible heritage such as traditional craftsmanship, rituals and "collective memory".  Apart from the Central Police Station Compound Conservation and Revitalisation Project which has received Government approval to be taken forward, the Club has committed to two more heritage conservation projects: "The Conservancy Association Centre for Heritage" and the "Community Education Programme on Heritage Conservation and Rejuvenation in Wan Chai District". Both of these two projects will help the public understand more about their community by giving them an active involvement in the safeguarding and re-creation of Hong Kong's intangible heritage.

The Conservancy Association Centre for Heritage occupies the Annex Block of the former Tsan Yuk Maternity Hospital in Sai Ying Pun, which has been declared a Grade III historic building. The Club has donated HK$7.79 million for the Centre to carry out renovation works and implement a three-year community engagement and education programme that began in October 2007. The programme is targeted at identifying, safeguarding and recreating Hong Kong's history and intangible heritage such as traditional craftsmanship, rituals and festive celebrations through public participation.

As well as safeguarding Hong Kong's tangible and intangible heritage, the Club attaches high importance to preserving the local character and cultural significance of different districts. With the aim of promoting community awareness of the heritage of Wan Chai, a district flourishing with open markets, traditional pubs and "tong lau", the Club has donated HK$3.89 million for St. James' Settlement to launch a three-year programme, called Community Education Programme on Heritage Conservation and Rejuvenation in Wan Chai District. This programme will enable the general public, especially the younger generation, to take an active part in the conservation and rejuvenation of the district's living history and intangible heritage through a wide array of activities.

Empowering the ethnic minorities

Over the years, the Club has made a number of donations to projects that provide services and assistance to Hong Kong's ethnic minorities. The Club believes, however, that it is equally important to empower them to form their own social organisations to support their own clan. It has therefore proactively approached Christian Action to launch a comprehensive three-year programme entitled Leadership and Organisational Development Programme for Ethnic Minorities, supported by a HK$3.43 million Club donation. Through training and practical experience, this programme will help ethnic minority leaders enhance their organisational abilities, improve their skills and gain knowledge in making funding applications and monitoring the effectiveness of community programmes.

* Please refer to the attachment for details of each programme

Mr Yiu emphasised that the five highlighted projects were only a small sample of the many different areas of community life that would be supported by the Club during the year, and other traditionally important groups like young people, the elderly, the disabled, the needy and disadvantaged were not overlooked. "It is clear to us, though, that heritage conservation and the environment are becoming issues of growing importance to Hong Kong people and they are looking for leadership in this area, which is why we are taking a proactive approach in launching these new initiatives," he said. "In most cases, they also involve public participation, which is very important. Our aim at the Club is to fulfil the role of a catalyst, building public awareness and support for these issues so that over the longer term, they can generate their own momentum."

Details of the Programmes:

  1. Environment Project
  2. Project WATERMAN
  3. The Conservancy Association Centre for Heritage
  4. Community Education Programme on Heritage Conservation and Rejuvenation in Wan Chai District
  5. Leadership and Organisational Development Programme for Ethnic Minorities


Photo 1:
Mr William Y Yiu, Executive Director, Charities of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, outlines the recent donations for heritage conservation, environmental protection and ethnic minorities.

 


Photo 2:
The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course will take the lead in environmental awareness by introducing four solar-powered boats with hybrid engines for its ferry services between the Golf Course and Sai Kung pier starting in November 2009.

 


Photo 3:
Photos 3 & 4:
With support from the Club, the Community Engagement Programme and Education and Outreach Programme of the Conservancy Association Centre for Heritage will provide a platform for the general public to identify, safeguard and recreate Hong Kong's intangible heritage.

 


Photo 4