12 March 2019
Volunteers support social integration of people with intellectual disabilities by volunteering at hc:Bistro, a flagship social enterprise restaurant
Hong Chi Association and FWD Hong Kong (“FWD”) jointly hosted the kick-off ceremony of the “Together We Serve” Volunteering Scheme cum volunteer catering service training at the hc:Bistro today.
Located in Tai Kwun, hc:Bistro is a flagship social enterprise restaurant operated by Hong Chi Association. The volunteering scheme is a new collaborative initiative between the two organisations, in which the first Thursday of every month is set as the “hc:Bistro FWD Volunteering Day”. FWD will arrange for their staff to take up volunteering shifts and assist Hong Chi trainees with their work at hc:Bistro.
Edwin Lam, PDSM, General Secretary of Hong Chi Association, thanked FWD for their support in fostering social integration for people with autism and intellectual disabilities throughout the years, saying: “We opened hc:Bistro in autumn last year. The flagship social enterprise restaurant of Hong Chi Association also serves as a stage where the public can witness the multi-talent and skills of people with intellectual disabilities. We are grateful for FWD’s support to our restaurant through this volunteering scheme, which allowed us to serve our customers with even more personalised catering service. We believe that FWD volunteers could, in return, learn more about the abilities of Hong Chi members to spread the positive message of a caring and inclusive community through their actions.”
Ken Lau, Managing Director of Greater China and Hong Kong Chief Executive Officer of FWD said: “FWD has been a long-term supporter of Hong Chi Association. We’ve been taking part in various events so that people with intellectual disabilities can put their potential to work. I am delighted that we could cooperate with Hong Chi to launch the ‘Together We Serve’ Volunteering Scheme, and are very confident that our volunteers can fully support Hong Chi members’ work at hc:Bistro. We hope the initiative will enrich members’ life experience while enhancing public understanding about and acceptance of people with autism and intellectual disabilities as a way to foster social integration.”
At the kick-off ceremony of the volunteering scheme, Edwin Lam invited Ken Lau and Paul Tse, Chief Marketing Officer of FWD Hong Kong & Macau, as well as some 30 FWD volunteers to put on the volunteer badge together. The gesture symbolised that FWD volunteers are now official members of the hc:Bistro family, and they will commit to helping Hong Chi trainees with their work at the restaurant. Instructors at the restaurant and Hong Chi members also introduced volunteers to the work at the restaurant and offered basic training in catering service. Ken and Paul also showed their support by learning professional table setting and customer service skills alongside Hong Chi trainees.
The “Together We Serve” Volunteering Scheme envisions to foster integration of the disabled and the able-bodied and to invoke public awareness in caring and accepting people with intellectual disabilities and autism. Usually working busily in their offices, FWD staff will go to the forefront of a social enterprise to learn about hospitality techniques in a restaurant. In addition to working side by side with Hong Chi members to deliver personalised service and delicacies to customers, FWD staff will also interact with Hong Chi members to gain deeper understanding about the multiple skills of people with intellectual disabilities, helping them to excel at work and to give back to society.