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(Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Mr Edwin Tong, delivering the opening address at the Team Nila 7th Anniversary celebrations)

 

5 March 2022 - Team Nila, Sport Singapore’s volunteer force, has hit 1.05 million volunteering hours at the end of 2021 having expanded its suite of volunteering opportunities beyond sport-related activities, especially over the past two pandemic years when sport activities were limited.

“Team Nila has prevailed over the challenges posed by Covid-19. I am proud of our Team Nila volunteers, have who courageously adapted to these unprecedented circumstances, stepped up to the plate, and continued to actively contribute. Your efforts demonstrate how sport is a force for good, enabling us to be a more hardy, happy, and healthy country,” said Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law.

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Minister Edwin Tong and Mr Ethen Ong (Division Head, Team Nila) taking a selfie with award recipients.  

 

From Sport Volunteer Force to Positive Driving Force in the Community

Team Nila’s volunteering activities were primarily anchored in sport when it was launched in 2015. Since 2016, it evolved to create and provide non-sport volunteering opportunities in the community. Between 2020 and 2021, when the global COVID-19 pandemic hit our shores, our Team Nila volunteers stood up and answered the nation’s call to serve the community. Standing true to the values of sport, Team Nila volunteers presented the united front in support of the, community-based activations such as mask, sanitiser, and care pack distributions, especially in the early stages of the pandemic. They also found creative ways to continue to engage and support vulnerable communities through custom-made sport and physical activities.

For example, in 2020, Team Nila launched the virtual SG55 workout comprising 55 repetitions of different exercise moves (e.g. squats, jumping jacks), with the completion of one workout translating to one care pack raised for migrant workers. The workout raised 8,900 care packs. The volunteers also played an important role in keeping the migrant workers fit and happy when they were housed at the ActiveSG sport centres. The volunteers organised several sport and exercise routines both on site and virtually for the migrant workers.

Most recently, Team Nila organised its first Giving Marathon at the end of 2021, spanning 42 consecutive days of giving opportunities in and beyond sport, such as urban and coastal clean-up and food donation drives. Volunteers clocked over 36,000 volunteering hours during the campaign alone, over a third of the 100,000 hours achieved in total that year.

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Birthday cake cutting. L-R: Mr David Lawe (Team Nila Gold Award recipient), Mr Eric Chua (Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth), Mr Edwin Tong (Minister for Culture, Community and Youth), Ms Angela Sim (Team Nila Gold Award recipient) & Mr Lim Teck Yin (CEO, SportSG)

 

Recognising Outstanding Team Nila at the 7th Anniversary Celebration

Recognising the selfless contributions by the Team Nila volunteers, over 100 Gold and Silver awards were presented to volunteers who clocked more than 360 and 180 volunteering hours respectively at Team Nila’s 7th Anniversary celebration on 5 March 2022. Minister Edwin Tong and Mr Eric Chua, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Ministry of Social and Family Development graced the event to thank the volunteers and gave out the awards. Among them were 29 Gold Award recipients, a five-fold increase from five awardees last year.

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L-R: Mr Eric Chua (Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth), Mr David Lawe (Team Nila Gold Award recipient) & Mr Edwin Tong (Minister for Culture, Community and Youth)

 

"Volunteering with Team Nila has allowed me to try out many new things and help people in different ways. I’m glad to have grown in my volunteer journey, joining many courses to improve my skills so I can take up more leadership roles, such as serving as a Camp Facilitator at an outdoor adventure camp where we encourage families in the community to bond through sport activities and stay active together,” shared Mr David Lawe, 57, a Gold Award recipient who has been a Team Nila volunteer since the 2015 SEA Games. He achieved over 360 volunteering hours in 2021.

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L-R: Mr Eric Chua (Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth), Mr Mandala Ranjit Reddy (Team Nila Gold Award recipient) & Mr Edwin Tong (Minister for Culture, Community and Youth)

 

Mr Mandala Ranjit Reddy, 40, another Gold Award recipient, volunteered some 440 hours in 2021 and even took his personal leave to volunteer. “I joined Team Nila as I wanted to contribute to Singapore during the last two pandemic years. I’ve been able to assist at exciting sport events like the Singapore Tennis Open, and pick up interesting activities like urban farming, where we grow and harvest fruit and vegetables, which were donated to the low-income families. My family has supported me in my volunteering journey, and I would like to dedicate this award to them.”

Team Nila saw an increase in award recipients across Gold (>360 hours), Silver (>180 hours), and Bronze (>90 hours) categories, with the number of awards given out totalling 216, up from 120 in last year’s awards ceremony. Bronze Award recipients joined in the hybrid awards ceremony through an online stream.

Sport Volunteering – an integral part of the community

In the past two years, Team Nila volunteers have shown how they, united through a shared love for sport, are a dependable volunteer force, ready and able to contribute to any area of need of our community.

In the coming year, Team Nila volunteers can look forward to increased opportunities to volunteer in sport through five giving platforms as sport makes a comeback. For example, as assistant coaches in the Academies & Clubs, Active Health ambassadors, SportCares mentors, Sport Centre guest officers and interest group leaders. Volunteers can contribute both in general event and programme roles, as well as through their personal expertise and interests, such as photography, content creation, customer service, events planning, coaching and technical officiating.

In addition, Team Nila will be adding more non-sport opportunities, from serving as guides and ambassadors in the areas of sustainability and heritage to befriending engagements with vulnerable segments, to its staple activities, in its efforts to rally the sporting community to contribute actively to a broader range of causes. New opportunities will be curated using a zonal approach so volunteers can give back meaningfully to their immediate neighbourhoods.

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L-R: Mr Eric Chua (Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth), Ms Angela Sim (Team Nila Gold Award recipient) & Mr Edwin Tong (Minister for Culture, Community and Youth)

 

“As a retiree, volunteering with Team Nila keeps me physically active and socially connected. Activities such as Active Farming, which require movements such as squatting, bending and lifting, helps me maintain muscle mass while enjoying the outdoors,” shared Ms Angela Sim, 72, Gold Award Recipient who achieved 480 volunteering hours. Among her volunteering activities, Angela is a regular volunteer who helps out at Active Farms located in Bishan, Toa Payoh and Woodlands ActiveSG Sport Centres.

Team Nila was launched in 2015 as the unifying identity for sport volunteers in Singapore. That year, 20,000 volunteers were recruited and played an instrumental role in the success of the 2015 Southeast Asian Games and the ASEAN Para Games. Today, the 34,000 strong Team Nila, whose purple attire can easily be spotted at sporting events, has evolved to serve the larger community through a variety of sport and non-sport opportunities and inspire the Singapore Spirit through Sport. Those interested to sign up as a Team Nila volunteer can register at https://www.volunteer.gov.sg/

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