Orchard Road is home to the Singapore Red Cross (SRC), which was founded in 1949. This humanitarian organisation provided crucial first aid, social welfare and relief services in the years before such services were widely available in Singapore. For example, SRC was actively involved in relief work for local disasters in the 1960s-80s such as the Bukit Ho Swee fire in 1961, the Potong Pasir floods in 1966 and a cable car accident in 1983.
The society operated from a number of temporary locations before relocating permanently to its current building, Red Cross House. The building was officially opened in 1961 by Yang di-Pertuan Negara Yusof bin Ishak, who was also then Patron of the SRC. Red Cross House was originally a two-storey building with a boomerang-shaped concrete canopy over its main entrance. It was designed by Dr Ho Kok Hoe, a pioneering architect who was also President of the Singapore Art Society. A third storey was added in the 1970s and the building was conserved in 2014.
Today, SRC continues to serve the less fortunate locally and in the region. It continues to run the Red Cross Home for the Disabled, which was started in 1952 and provides day care, respite care and residential care to persons with multiple disabilities. Its volunteers also provide first aid coverage at national and community events such as the National Day Parade, Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and Singapore Grand Prix.
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