The Swire Properties Placemaking Academy is a significant part of our work to empower and foster the ambitions of Hong Kong’s youth, ultimately helping to build vibrant local communities.
The second edition of the Academy saw 21 students from four Hong Kong universities take up an apprenticeship (from July to December 2020) to design, plan and execute the Company’s year-end community celebration – the White Christmas Street Fair.
COVID-19 presented them with a unique challenge: how to produce a CSR event amid turbulent times while faced with many restrictions and disruptions. In the end, they came up with a creative and effective way to reconnect with the community, give back to those in need and lift people’s spirits.
The students received a combination of thorough training and support, access to the Company’s resources and creative freedom to bring their ideas to life. These factors, along with the experience of directly helping people in need, allowed them the rare opportunity to see first-hand how their work changed people’s lives for the better.
This metamorphic group experience, in which empathy played a huge role, gave them the confidence, resilience and knowledge that they’re capable of bringing positive change to society – truly an empowering experience.
As the students worked, they were mentored by the Company’s senior management, sustainability and event planning experts, and thought leaders from the design and community planning industries. They took part in 46 masterclasses, including one by KS Wong, Secretary for the Environment, on green event planning and sustainable development, during which they received a number of practical tips.
After months of work, the event took on its final form: a travelling performance truck called the “White Christmas Express”. The truck made stops at Taikoo Place, the Starstreet Precinct and Citygate Outlets. Its six programmes were inspired by stories of everyday Hong Kong citizens and embodied the qualities of hope, perseverance and kindness – brought to life through storytelling, musical performances by artists and local musicians and wellness activities.
The White Christmas Express performances were also broadcasted across various online channels, creatively reconnecting and engaging with the greater Hong Kong community during these times of change and adversity. In the spirit of the holidays, the students also hand-picked over HK$400,000 worth of gifts which were distributed to six community groups.