Take-A-Break Community Space
Chow Tai Fook Charity Foundation has been caring about the needs of carers and in 2019, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Federation of Women’s Centres and Concern for Grassroots Living Livelihood Alliance, it launched the “Take-A-Break Community Space” pilot programme. The programme encourages collaboration between the business sector and the community to explore, coordinate and make effective use of unused resources to establish “Take-A-Break Community Space” in Sham Shui Po and Yau Tsim Mong Districts. This provides convenient, flexible and affordable short-term respite care services so that carers can get a respite, while receiving support and even obtaining further education and employment opportunities. By training and employing these grassroots women as activity instructors to provide caregiving services and lead activities, the programme helps improve their competitiveness and employment readiness, and increase their income. With a service model focusing on engaging different stakeholders, the programme helps enhance social capital on both individual and community levels.
During its initial stage of implementation, the programme aimed to serve children aged between 3 and 12. Encouraging results were shown in an impact assessment report which revealed that the demand for services at the Take-A-Break Community Space, the number of service points that could be developed, and the number of activity instructors trained all went beyond expectations. That means the programme is effectively supporting the carers and relieving their stress, while promoting employment and helping grassroots families boost their income.
The programme benefited 189 families and enabled 36 grassroots women to return to the workforce during the first year. At present, the number of Take-A-Break Community Space service points has increased to 13. In view of the effectiveness of the pilot programme, the Foundation moved further forward to support the launch of the second phase. The new two-year programme extended its service to the elderly and investigated on the feasible ways and potential benefits of intergenerational care. A certificate course has been introduced to enhance professional skills of the activity instructors so that those who wish to better equip themselves can have the opportunity to further their studies. The programme is anticipated to benefit 460 families and train up 80 women. The Department of Applied Social Sciences and the School of Design of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University have also been invited to conduct a study while taking part in design and evaluation. The first phase of the study is expected to be completed by mid-2022.
Due to the pandemic, my son has not been to school for months, and I have been taking care of him in my 80-square-foot home every day. As he has a lot of online homework, I have to teach him at home which has sometimes made me want to kill myself. Occasionally, I would also like to have my personal time. The programme’s respite care service gives me some room to take a break by spending tens of dollars only each time, which is really affordable! Just about a month after using the service, I found a temporary job through referral and started working at a vegetable stall in the Mongkok market nearby. I can now bring my son to the centre before going to work. It's great to learn about this service, otherwise I would have had to turn down this job opportunity. Now I'm even less annoyed when taking care of the kid while I am at home