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HSBC staff volunteers 'pull' together for charity

With a fund-raising activity called "Tarik for Charity", it's no wonder HSBC so easily draws in staff volunteers.

WITH a fund-raising activity called "Tarik for Charity", it's no wonder HSBC so easily draws in staff volunteers.

The teh tarik, or "pulled tea", event saw Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and HSBC chief executive Guy Harvey-Samuel lead teams of HSBC staff in a fast-paced relay match.

Every 10 millilitres of teh that made it into the final container raised S$60 - the amount required to support a primary school beneficiary under the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) for a month.

The winning team, Mr Harvey-Samuel's, raised a total of S$84,000, which will be donated to both the STSPMF and the Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BTBAF).

Tan Bee Heong, general manager of the STSPMF, and Alvin Tay, chairman of the BTBAF and BT editor, also led teams in the race.

The event was held at Mr Harvey-Samuel's residence in celebration of HSBC's 18th year of corporate responsibility efforts in Singapore.

Also featured were energetic song and dance performances by beneficiaries of the Little Arts Academy, a non-profit arts education company funded by BTBAF.

Another highlight was the donation of S$300,000 to six charities under Community Chest, to support their respective education programmes for disadvantaged children.

The six recipients were chosen by HSBC volunteers through a voting process. The Business Times also learnt later that the amount was to be matched, dollar for dollar, under the government's Care and Share movement, making the final amount donated S$600,000.

"Corporate responsibility and volunteering are a part of our HSBC culture," Mr Harvey-Samuel said. "In 2014, we completed over 170 community service and environmental projects, in a collective effort to help make our community a better place in many ways."

In 2014, under the All In A Day's Work programme, more than 800 HSBC staff volunteers and corporate partners helped raise funds, clean, refurbish and build study areas in the homes of 226 disadvantaged children, bringing the total number of children assisted - since the programme's inception in 2009 - to more than 1,150.

Outstanding staff volunteers were presented awards for their contributions to HSBC's charity efforts. In particular, employees Luke Chia and Steven Pereira received honourable mention for respectively clocking in 226 and 204 hours the previous year, or an average of four hours a week.

"I've seen the impact of what we do and I've seen the way it actually helps young people become what they can become," Mr Pereira, who has been a volunteer since 2008, said.

"I feel honoured, frankly," he said, of being a recipient of the award. "My company gives a lot of importance to (volunteerism) and it encourages its staff to participate."

"It's very encouraging to know that what you're doing is accepted and recognised by your company."

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