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Foreword by Chairman

Dr. Benjamin Lai

Chairman of Board of Directors,
MentalCare Connect Co Ltd

"MentalCare Connect" is a subsidiary of The Mental Health Association of Hong Kong (MHAHK), a non-Government organization promoting mental health education and providing rehabilitation services for the mentally disabled persons. In the 1990's MHAHK had set up the first "Cheers Gallery" in her headquarter running food and beverages and printing services and a convenience store in North District Hospital in 1999. The Government raised an idea of enhancement of employment opportunities of the disabled persons through small business. The Executive Committee of MHAHK under the chairmanship of Dr. Mak Ki Yan formulated the idea of forming an independent company to run a social enterprise for the purpose of enhancement of employment opportunities of the mentally disabled in a self-sustainable enterprise run under market principles.

The development of the Company was also facilitated by the policy of the Government in provision of seed money for the establishment of social enterprise and the policy of the Hospital Authority in allocation of space within the public hospital for social enterprise to develop the business. Some entrepreneurs and private companies also supported the idea of social enterprise by Non-Government Organisations, collaborated with the NGOs and provided with valuable advice, training and technical support for the development of individual social enterprise.

"MentalCare Connect" is able to learn and grow through the challenges, ups and downs of business over the years. We had faced SARS in 2003, high rentals of shops, cut-price competition in the market, competition among social enterprises, the recent two plus years of COVID-19 since 2020 and the economic downturn. The Company is fortunate to have the passion and dedication of our very capable business leaders, Ms. Yvonne Yeung, in the first ten years and Mr. Chung Wai Shing, in the second ten years in leading, managing, developing the Company, establishing and cultivating the scale and caring culture of the Company. The Company has grown from two businesses in the first year to more than 30 social enterprise projects as at the end of 2022. The turnover of the Company in the past financial year is HK$202,845,193 representing a net profit of HK$2,044,815 after tax. We continue to provide employment and training opportunities for the mentally disabled and the disadvantaged persons. The Company has continued to establish shops in the community outside of the public hospitals. At the end of March 2022, we have 12 retail & catering outlets operated in community. I am glad to share with you that the Company will collaborate with "Mindset" in running convenience stores to further enhance employment opportunities for the mentally disabled persons.

On behalf of the Company, I extend our sincere thanks to the Social Welfare Department and Home Affairs Department for the provision of seed money to our various projects over the years. Thanks for the Hospital Authority for supporting the social enterprise and thanks for the suppliers, NGOs and other social enterprises for their support to the Company. I need to thank the Executive Committee of MHAHK and the Chairman Dr. Lo for their unfailing support to the Company. Thanks to members of Board of Directors for their continual advice and guidance of the Company. Thanks to Mr. Chung and his colleagues for their untiring devotion and contribution to the Company amid the difficult challenges posed by COVID-19. I am especially grateful for the sharing of our colleagues. Those are the proud values of a social enterprise that we would like to promote. I believe the Company is on a good basis to further develop, meet the challenges of the next decade and uphold our values as a social enterprise.

A tree of twenty years can have witnessed and experienced sunny, rainy, thunderous and stormy weather. It must have had the nurture of the sun, the wind, the rain and the earth for it to grow and maintain its health and function. Your continual support and advice are of paramount importance to the further growth and development of the Company in the coming decade.

Mr. Chung Wai Shing

CEO, MentalCare Connect Co Ltd

Executive Report

The first "Cheers Gallery" was opened in the social service complex of The Mental Health Association of Hong Kong 25 years ago, I made a lofty aspiration and said that "Cheers Gallery" would have 20 branches in some days. The others refuted that it was merely a dream. Five years later, I assisted my mother organization to set up the social enterprise – MentalCare Connect Co Ltd, the people said that the business could only be sustainable with the support of Government funding, otherwise it would result in winding up inevitably. In fact, in the first ten-year operation of "MentalCare Connect", there were only three years recorded with profit. A series of problems such as SARS, financial difficulties and vicious competitions of competitors were really unbearable to "MentalCare Connect".

Everything started again in 2012. We focused on the operations with building a solid foundation for "MentalCare Connect" and maintaining our primary mission as a Social Enterprise. Pursuant to the support of Board of Directors and efforts from different tiers of staff, especially with those experienced staff, we became more stable in operations and recorded profit for consecutive ten years. "Cheers Gallery" opened its 21st shop in the second quarter of 2022-23, along with other businesses such as "Cheers Coop", Online Shop, Catering and Publications, there was a profit of HK$200 million for Years 2021-22 and 140 disabled staff was employed.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of "MentalCare Connect", not many activities were planned and organized for the celebration due to the epidemic. However, the sentiment from our staff sharing their working perception, feeling and complement to the Company and anniversary were particularly touching. The outside world always concentrated on how social enterprises achieving break-even in doing business but ignored their social value to be created. I hope those stakeholders could appreciate and treasure the values created by the disabled staff and the subsequent impact leading to their living and lives.

Financial Performance

The total revenue of "MentalCare Connect" for Years 2021 – 2022 was HK$202,845,193, signified an increase of 16.5% year to year. "Enhancing Employment of People with Disabilities through Small Enterprise Project" and "Enhancing Self-Reliance through District Partnership Programme" funded a total of HK$3,417,149, accounting for 1.7% of total income. The profit after tax was HK$2,044,815 and tax payable was HK$318,460. The increase of revenue was due to the stable business in the first 3 quarters of the epidemic. The opening of new store also brought considerable contribution to the revenue. The reduction of licence fee for those commercial premises of Hospital Authori ty and Government also minimized the operational expenses and facilitated the increase of profit.

Core Mission Implementation

Over 30 Social Enterprises projects were being operated by "MentalCare Connect" until March 2022, 210 employees were hired and 152 of them were disadvantaged groups of people (140 were disabled). This was equivalent to 72% of our workforce. 174 cases were referred to our Company and shops for placement by different organisations. Apart from direct employing disadvantaged group of people, we also proactively participated in ethical consumption. "MentalCare Connect" sponsored Hong Kong Social Enterprise Employee Recognition Scheme 2021 organized by Hong Kong General Chamber of Social Enterprises. This further praised for the workers in the field for their dedication and self-actualization at work.

Business Development

"MentalCare Connect" opened 3 shops this years including "Cheers Gallery" Tuen Mun Hospital Rehab Shop, "Cheers Gallery" Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital Rehab Shop and "Cheers Gallery" Rehab Links at Queen's Road Central. "Cheers Gallery" extended its number of shop to 21, fourteen of them were operating in the hospitals and seven in the community. These included the shops opening in Shatin Hospital and Grantham Hospital when I was preparing this report. Our Company further enhanced the working opportunities for people in mental recovery by cooperating with "Mindset", a charity organization under Jardine Group. The partnership involved the operations of 7-Eleven and it was commenced in September 2022.


In the past two years' epidemic, particularly in the fourth quarter, quite a large amount of staff contracted with COVID-19, "MentalCare Connect" did its best in business and staff support and we finally survived the adversity. It was believed that the epidemic would still go up and down, along with the market may change drastically. We experienced the changing consumption pattern of our customers. The horizontal competition was getting fierce. The price offered by the suppliers also fluctuating from time to time. All these requested "MentalCare Connect" to adjust its development and operational strategies. The mode of operations should change with reference to the market ecosystem. The Anti-epidemic Fund subsidized the Company's business in past two years. It was expected the subsidy would be gradually tide-over due to the ease of epidemic. Years 2022 – 23 will be a challenging year to "MentalCare Connect". We should keep calm and carry on our business. I am greatly indebted to the Board of Directors for their attention to our infected staff. I am also proud of my staff for their adherence to their duties during the critical moment of the epidemic.