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    Oct 02, 2014

    More set to benefit from ST School Pocket Money Fund

    NEEDY students will soon find it easier to benefit from The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF), and more could become eligible for help too, with tweaks announced yesterday.

    This comes as the fund - which provides pocket money to children from low-income families - has raised more money in the first half of the year than a year ago.

    Under the changes, eligible post-secondary school students can benefit from the fund up to the year they turn 21, instead of the month of their birthdays, as is the case now.

    This was done so that funding would likely not be cut for students who are still schooling when they turn 21.

    The SPMF will also be tweaked so that more needy students from single-child families can benefit.

    In the past, post-secondary students who had siblings were typically given priority in receiving aid from the fund. But this sibling criterion will soon be dropped.

    The changes, to kick in from January, were announced yesterday by Han Fook Kwang, chairman of the SPMF, at the fund's third annual Appreciation Day.

    Held at the Singapore Press Holdings News Centre auditorium in Toa Payoh, the Appreciation Day was organised to thank the SPMF's partners for their support and help.

    The SPMF, founded in 2000 as a community project initiated by The Straits Times, expects to disburse close to $8 million this year, a 60 per cent increase as compared to two years ago.

    The jump can be attributed to an expected increase in the number of beneficiaries - from 11,372 in 2012 to over 14,000 this year - due largely to the rising cost of living, explained an SPMF spokesman.

    The fund raised about $3.47 million in the first six months of this year, more than the $2.69 million in the same period last year, as more fund-raising activities were held to meet rising funding needs.

    Members of the public who would like to donate to the SPMF can visit for details on how to do so.