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Togetherness! Feel The Love

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Love.Together@DB has been helping residents embrace diversity and build a loving community for a little over a decade. Ray Au takes a look.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF HKRCL

Home to around 20,000 people hailing from 50+ countries, Discovery Bay is a truly unique place to live. Unique in its cultural mix certainly, but also in how happily residents of different nationalities, backgrounds and ages coexist.

That ours is a harmonious, close-knit community is thanks in no small part to Love.Together@DB, the community-caring platform initiated in 2012 by Hong Kong Resort Company Limited (HKRCL). Over the years, Love.Together@DB has introduced numerous events, programmes and activities with the aim to bring the community together and promote a caring, sharing culture.

“The strength of our community lies in the strength of the connections that we have with each other,” opens Simon Tu, General Manager, DB Operations of HKRCL. “Forging these connections takes time and effort but it’s worth it. The Love.Together@DB ethos is ‘Embrace Diversity and Build a Loving Community’. We set out to foster strong bonds and a sense of belonging within the DB community, while encouraging community service.”

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

The fabulous DB Fun Fun Carnival, co-organised by Love.Together@DB and the Neighbourhood Advice- Action Council (NAAC), is one of the most popular events on the DB social calendar, bringing handicraf t workshops and on-stage dance, music and fitness demonstrations. True to the Love.Together@DB ethos, local performers from different countries and cultures are invited to take part. For DB Dragon Boat Race Day, Love.Together@DB joins hands with City Management and the City Owners’ Committee. A high-profile, community building event, it serves to promote sports and a healthy lifestyle, while encouraging residents and stakeholders to meet and mingle.

The DB Kids Farming Programme, launched in May 2022, is a relatively new Love.Together@DB flagship programme that helps residents build relationships through shared activities. Local schoolchildren, alongside their parents, siblings and elderly neighbours, are given a small piece of farmland to cultivate inside the greenhouse at DB Community Green Square. Members of the DB Landscape Team are on hand to teach the kids valuable farming skills.

“Love.Together@DB initiatives are based on one or more of the following pillars – green living, healthy lifestyle, ar ts and culture, youth education and family harmony,” says Sara Lai, Senior Manager, Community Relations of HKRCL. “We are delighted that the DB Kids Farming Programme touches on so many of these.”

The story-telling sessions and handicraft workshops, co-organised by Love.Together@DB and the Outlying Islands Women’s Association (OIWA), are another case in point. “The aim is to help foster harmonious family relationships,” says Luvis Wong, OIWA’s Community Services Development Manager. “The diversified, family-based programmes let OIWA reach out to many young DB parents and expand children’s horizons.”

The annual competitions Love.Together@DB organises, alongside the Around DB team, are equally family-orientated, and specifically tailored to celebrate DB’s multicultural demographic. In the DB CNY Drawing Competition, DB kids and students share their New Year wishes and greetings with the community. In the DB Baking Competition – themed Love to Bake! Bake to Love! for 2022, resident cooks of all ages were invited to share a favourite family recipe that friends and neighbours might choose to add to their own culinary repertoire.

SHARING THE LOVE

In seeking to build a loving and connected community, Love.Together@DB makes DB’s elderly residents a priority. Elderly Fun Days, co-organised by City Management, are held every Tuesday and Thursday at the Multi-Purpose Hall encouraging older members of the community to get together and enjoy a range of activities, such as early morning exercise, table tennis, tea-sharing, dancing and Rummikub. Regular talks on useful topics like health, home safety and crime prevention are also provided, as are Christmas and CNY gatherings.

Love.Together@DB is well aware that living in a well-connected community is important for people’s wellbeing and, with this in mind, it supports the numerous activities the NAAC provides at its centre in DB North and at the DB Community Centre.

“Thanks to Love.Together@DB, we can strengthen our connection with the DB community, tailoring our diverse services to the needs of residents,” says Henry Yip, NAAC Centre Manager. “The more community activities we hold, the more residents we connect with, and the more easily we can identify people who need our support.”

NAAC wellness workshops on offer include laughter-yoga and mindfulness, and there are spor ts clubs for table tennis, badminton and dance. Music-based activities include busking (DB Vibes), a choir for adults (Sing for Joy) and a percussion band for children.

Love.Together@DB also suppor ts DB residents James Lee and Jane Tsui, co-founders of Sing for Love, who provide Cantonese Opera training classes at Cub Siena as a form of community service. The programme is open to children as well as adults, and all the coaches are volunteers.

“We have a strong sense of belonging in DB. It’s our home and we want to make a solid contribution,” says James, who composes music and writes lyrics for the children he teaches. “Through the programme, we teach children about Chinese culture and promote positive thinking and values. All our members live or study in DB, so we see strong friendship bonds develop.”

“We are not merely an interest class; we are a support network,” says Jane, formerly deputy principal at S.K.H. Wei Lun Primary School. “We want to care for elderly residents, especially those whose children have moved out of DB. We hope to ease their loneliness. By singing together, many of us have become friends. During COVID, we helped elderly members get to the vaccine centres and we sourced necessities for them.”

ENCOURAGING COMMUNITY SERVICE

Volunteering is something that Love.Together@DB encourages and enables, with a focus not only on DB’s elderly population but also on locally based NGOs, such as Plastic Free Seas.

“People who volunteer feel more connected to the community they serve, and it’s also a good way to connect with other residents and have fun,” says Sara. “In addition, volunteering boosts personal development; it broadens people’s horizons, helping them understand those they are trying to help.”

While being DB-centric, the Love.Together@DB volunteering programme extends to the wider Lantau community, with a focus on Tung Chung and Peng Chau. One such initiative, on March 4, saw Love.Together@DB and the HKRI Care and Share Volunteer Team, alongside their families and friends, join with 30 other teams to paint a series of murals by the water front at Tung Chung Development Pier. The first mural highlights activities that Love.Together@DB arranges or supports; the second depicts signature DB events and facilities.

“For this event, we partnered with Tung Chung Safe and Heathy City, with whom we have a longstanding relationship,” Sara says. “It created an opportunity for our staff to make a contribution to the wider community. They were also able to enjoy quality time with colleagues, families and friends while volunteering.

“No matter whether you choose to provide a community activity or service, or sign up as a recipient, you will experience heartfelt fulfilment! Come join us,” Sara concludes.

Love.Together@DB is a community-caring platform initiated in 2012 by Hong Kong Resort Company Ltd dedicated to serving the Discovery Bay (DB) community.

The platform proactively supports and co-organises diversified corporate social responsibility initiatives with NGOs, community leaders and volunteers to promote a loving and caring culture in the sustainable and multicultural DB community.

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