During the outbreak of pandemic, The Hong Kong Jockey Club responded as “speedy” (fund approvals process of emergency fund sped up to two weeks on average), “targeted” (delivery to the right people in need), and “innovative” (new and effective ways to help communities). While in the first wave of the pandemic, the Club mobilised its resources immediately, rolling out multiple programmes to assist the community. Within months, 16 million face masks were donated or funded in support of the Hospital Authority and vulnerable members of society.
Patients with chronic illnesses who could not collect medication from the hospitals were supported by the Club’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund which enables the Hong Kong Pharmaceutical Foundation to arrange for medication delivery in specially equipped vehicles, while providing counselling services via video or phone. Over 100,000 mobile SIM cards with data plans were distributed through primary and secondary schools to grassroots students. The community assistance initiatives also include the distribution of care packs; a food assistance programme; subsidies for care homes to improve anti-pandemic facilities; first-time job seeker scheme; and a programme supporting artists to develop online arts contents and showcase their works through digital platform. The Club felt it was important to promote social wellbeing within the community.
By the end of December 2020, the HKJC had helped over one million people in need, with a total donation of around HK$1 billion for anti-epidemic support programmes.
Hong Kong has faced many challenges during the pandemic. Throughout the Club has channelled the “can-do spirit”, maintaining racing for the sporting entertainment of Hong Kong, and through its support for the community staying true to its purpose “The Betterment of Our Society”.