Jockey Club donates HK$ 720 million to help low-income families in transitional housing become self-reliant

Jockey Club donates HK$ 720 million to help low-income families in transitional housing become self-reliant

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According to the latest research, one-fifth of Hong Kong’s population live in poverty. To address this issue, and in particular to uplift low-income households living in transitional housing, The Hong Kong Jockey Club announced last Saturday (20 April) the launch of JC PROJECT LIFT, with an approved donation of HK$ 720 million from its Charities Trust. 

The announcement was the highlight of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Day at Sha Tin Racecourse, attended by over 200 charity and community representatives, under the theme of “LIFT Together, LIVE Better”. Officiating were HKSAR Government Chief Secretary for Administration Chan Kwok-ki, HKSAR Government Secretary for Housing Winnie Ho, HKSAR Government Secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun, Club Chairman Michael Lee, Club Deputy Chairman Martin Liao, Club Chief Executive Officer Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges and JC PROJECT LIFT Advisory Committee Convenor Clement Cheung.

Photo 2: Club Chairman Michael Lee said the Club is delighted to announce JC PROJECT LIFT, which will provide comprehensive assistance to families in transitional housing and thereby contribute to the targeted poverty alleviation strategy outlined in the latest Policy Address of the Chief Executive.

Club Chairman Michael Lee said, “One of the Club’s strategic charities focus areas is Youth Development and Poverty Alleviation. The Club works closely with the HKSAR Government and various sectors to create new opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds to unleash their potential and contribute to society. In addition, the Club seeks to help families break the cycle of poverty. Harnessing the drive and creativity of Hong Kong as a regional philanthropic centre, the Club is therefore delighted to announce JC PROJECT LIFT, which will provide comprehensive assistance to families in transitional housing and thereby contribute to the targeted poverty alleviation strategy outlined in the latest Policy Address of the Chief Executive.” 

Photo 3: Officiating guests, Club Stewards, members of the Club’s Board of Management and representatives from project partners pose for a photo.

Chief Secretary for Administration Chan Kwok-ki said that the HKSAR Government attaches great importance to the tripartite collaboration between the Government, the business sector and the community, and that it has been implementing the targeted poverty alleviation strategy by directing resources to the grassroots most in need. Relevant initiatives include the Strive and Rise Programme, Community Living Rooms and school-based after school care services. He added that he was pleased to learn about the Club’s launch of JC PROJECT LIFT, which will help, in an all-round manner, underprivileged families residing in transitional housing to expand their horizons and improve their living. He also thanked the Club, as Vice-Chairperson of the Partners’ Board, for its staunch support for the Strive and Rise programme, with the Club joining with the Government to help young people from grassroots families.

The five-year JC PROJECT LIFT will collaborate with 18 partners to provide comprehensive assistance to families in transitional housing projects.

The project is based on the successful Graduation Approach used in rural settings overseas, but customised to address the challenges of poverty in the modern urban environment as the Urban Graduation Approach (UGA). To help families break out of the poverty trap it focuses on enhancing family capacities and developing sustainable livelihoods. It empowers families financially through a savings scheme and initiatives to improve employment aspirations and prospects. Just as importantly it seeks to build confidence and self-esteem, encouraging families to expand their social circle and to engage with the wider community. 

The five key components of JC PROJECT LIFT are as follows, with specific details to be announced in due course:  

  • JC LIFT Hub – a social hub to strengthen family and community ties and foster the well-being and mental health of the community
  • Family Capacity Building Planner (FCBP)™ – to help families identify and strengthen family capacities and set development goals
  • Capacity Building Fund – to help families achieve the goals established through the programme, subsidies ranging from HK$ 10,000 to HK$ 20,000 will be provided based on the number of family members 
  • Level-up Empowerment Employment Centre – professional consultants will provide guidance in identifying strengths, upskilling, and exploring new career opportunities
  • Saving Scheme – to incentivise saving habits and build financial literacy

The programme will initially benefit 14,000 families in 25 transitional housing projects across the city. In the long run, it is hoped that the UGA model will be replicated in other housing settings in Hong Kong and potentially overseas. Further details can be found on the JC PROJECT LIFT website:

Photo 4: Club Chairman Michael Lee (right) and JC PROJECT LIFT beneficiary Lu Wai-hung (left).

Lu Wai-hung, a father of two and beneficiary of JC PROJECT LIFT, shares his family’s transformative journey from hardship to hope. Previously employed on the Mainland, Lu lost his job due to the pandemic. Consequently, he, his wife and their two children, aged 12 and 8, moved into a small unit shared by his mother and younger brother. His wife gave up her job to take care of the children.

The family’s morale plummeted over their lack of income and cramped living conditions. “My children were disheartened due to the absence of social activities,” said Lu, a warehouse keeper by trade in his 60s. “Our lack of independence and sense of belonging was just as disheartening. My daughter, who now needs more personal space, and the rest of us had to endure the inevitable inconveniences and lack of privacy in a living space meant for two.”

However, the family’s hopes were raised when they moved into a transitional housing unit in Tsuen Wan and joined JC PROJECT LIFT, as recommended by a social worker. The project’s practical, customised guidance, covering five key components, inspired Lu and his wife to plan for their future.

Through FCBP, Lu learned to identify and enhance his family’s capabilities and set development goals. He appreciates the career development support and special savings scheme provided by JC PROJECT LIFT, which have empowered him to plan for the future and improve their financial literacy. Lu, a smoker for over 40 years, also successfully quit the habit, saving HK$3,000 a month. The family’s journey has led them to a supportive community with festive gatherings and friendships for both adults and children.

The project’s free tutorials and interest classes have boosted the self-confidence of Lu’s children. With the project’s child-care service and neighbourly support, his wife returned to part-time work, and the children now help with household chores.

Lu and his wife now have higher aspirations for their children. “All parents wish for their children to have a better life,” he said, adding that his ultimate wish is for his children to attend university and contribute meaningfully to society.

The Club’s support for JC PROJECT LIFT, like all its charity donations, is made possible by its unique integrated business model through which racing and wagering generate tax contributions, charity support and employment opportunities for the community.

Photo 6: HKSAR Government Chief Secretary for Administration Chan Kwok-ki (front row, 2nd right) presents The Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Trophy to Lyraa Ng (front row, 2nd left), owner of the winning horse Multisuper. The historic 170-year-old trophy was generously donated by the late Mr Tobias Brown in recognition of the Club’s charitable contributions to the community.






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