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Foreword by the Chairman

Dr. Benjamin Lai

Chairman of Board of Directors,
MentalCare Connect Co Ltd

Hong Kong had faced a turbulent year that had not been experienced for decades. We encountered not only local issues including social unrest, automatic internet driven news, information overload, dichotomy of views, segregation of people with separate attitude and belief, interruption of business, disruption of the tourist industry and economic downturn. We had to face international issues including the trade war and the disputes in technology between China and the United States. On top of these COVID-19 pandemic, one that had not been met for a century, struck the world, including our mother country China and Hong Kong SAR. While locally we did not have a complete lockdown, a number of measures were implemented to stop the chain of infection. For example, schools were suspended, recreational and sports venues were closed, home offices were encouraged, social restriction order was put in place, certain business sectors were suspended, and business hours and number of persons allowed were restricted. The usually enormous number of people passing in and out of Hong Kong by air, by sea and on land disappeared. Irrespective of one’s age, gender, occupation and family background, daily life is affected to various extents. The combination of these stressors for such a prolonged period of time is a test of a person’s coping, resilience and reserve, and inevitably a challenge to a person’s mental health. From another angle, it can be seen as a time for growth and development of one’s patience, experience, thinking, feelings, skills, new ways of coping, and development of mutual support and relationship. "MentalCare Connect" is put to the test and challenge like everyone else.

As a social enterprise under The Mental Health Association of Hong Kong, our double bottom lines are to achieve financial sustainability and shoulder social responsibilities. The Company is to provide employment and training opportunities for the disadvantaged persons, and to promote a working environment facilitating the development of mutual support and positive mental health. To meet both bottom lines has not been an easy task as we have experienced over the years. The task is not made easier with the turbulence in the past year.

Thanks to the timely financial support by the Government to business sectors as well as the dedication and the hard work of the staff, "MentalCare Connect" does not only able to maintain its business in the adverse environment. I am pleased to share with you the continuing growth and development of the Company over the past year. The turnover of the business of Company has grown to HK$168,000,000 in the year with a growth of around 8% over the previous year and the net profit of the Company in the year is around HK$1,000,000. While the Company will maintain its business outlets inside the hospitals, it is expanding its shops outside of the hospitals. It will continue the joint efforts with other social enterprises in the promotion of corporate social responsibilities and support of the disadvantaged persons.

It was strange feelings in February 2003 when SARS developed in a hospital locally when there were debates whether the infection was only a single hot spot inside a hospital or the infection might spread to the community. We had a bitter experience then. It was natural that by February 2020 when COVID-19 was known, masks were worn and sold out rapidly. The local community and the local health care sector did not take it lightly. Challenges are for the prepared to overcome.

On behalf of the Board I would like to thank the Home Affairs Bureau, Social Welfare Department, the Hospital Authority, suppliers, honorary advisors and other stakeholders for their continual support and advice to the Company. The Board is grateful to Mr. Chung Wai Shing and his staff for their dedication and hard work for the success of the Company. I wish to thank members of the Board for their insightful advice and untiring support to the Company.

Mr. Chung Wai Shing

CEO, MentalCare Connect Co Ltd

Executive Report

Many entrepreneurs are pessimistic doer, they will gloomily approach incidents and actively seek for solutions. The problem was then solved and the crises were turned into opportunities! Perhaps these extreme characteristics render certain benefits in business operations and managements, particularly in risk management and forward-thinking strategy formulation. In the past year, the social movement and coronavirus pandemics affected our lives drastically in terms of interpersonal relationships, social-political and business environment. Such unprecedented condition is particularly hard for one to remain calm and optimistic. In this situation, we may resign to our own fate or proactively tackle the hard times. It all comes in one thought. "MentalCare Connect" has chosen to stand up and find way forwards in this tough moment. The Company records 8 years profit in a row, along with the growing workforce. Such result was originated from the strike against the adverse situation. In order to reward our dedicated staff, "MentalCare Connect" had been continue to release special year-end bonus this year.


Financial Performance

In 2019-2020, the total revenue of "MentalCare Connect" generated was HK$168,210,113, an increase of approximately 8.1% year-on-year. The growth rate was about the same as compared with last year. Among them, the seed funds from "Enhancing Employment of People with Disabilities through Small Enterprise Project" and "Enhancing Self-Reliance through District Partnership Programme" were sum up as HK$1,567,094, accounting for 0.93% of the overall income. The tax payable for the income was HK$105,221. The increase in operating income is largely due to the opening of retail outlets in the community in recent years where the public hospital was in the vicinity. The revenue generation was stable and some shops even recorded positive growth, regardless of the social movement and the spread of coronavirus in the past year. The hospital implemented "Emergency Level" led to the drop of 40% and 80% in our retail and catering businesses respectively in the public hospitals, within February and March, 2020. Otherwise, this year's turnover and profit should be more magnificent.


Core Mission Implementation

As of March 2020, "MentalCare Connect" operates 32 social enterprises projects. The Company employs a total of 183 employees, of which 112 are disadvantaged groups of people (102 of them were mentally disabled). This accounts for 61% of the total number of staff. 333 trainees were referred by various organisations to the Company for placement. In promoting the "Buy Social" Movement, "MentalCare Connect" encourages the corporate and public to support the sustainability of social enterprises via the "SE Mall" online shopping platform and "SE coupons". The Company also organised "Business Partner Engagement Series: Mental Health First Aid in Workplace cum Social Procurement Award Presentation Ceremony" for recognising the contribution of its business partners in social procurement.


Business Development

Last year, "MentalCare Connect" opened four new stores, including"Cheers Gallery" Princess Margaret Hospital Rehab Links, "Cheers Gallery" Lai King Building Convenience Store, "Cheers Coop" (Revenue Tower) and "Cheers Gallery" Rehab Links at Market Street. At the same time, we lost the operations of "Cheers Gallery" Wong Tai Sin Hospital Rehab Link, Cheers Café at Wong Tai Sin Hospital & Kwong Wah Hospital in the re-tendering exercises. In recent years, the Company develops the network of street front shop, for spreading the operating risks in hospitals especially the re-tendering exercises and medical risks due to the influenza and related disease.


2020-2021 marks the last year of "Mission 2020". The Company will further develop its street front retail network by opening Rehab Shop and Cheers Café, especially due to the predicted downturn of shop rental due to the social movement and pandemic. This further enhances the creation of job opportunities to disabled and disadvantaged groups of people.


Our in-house figures show that the turnover from online platform record a significant increase as compared with last year. It is believed that the shopping pattern was skewed from conventional to online one, because of the social movements and pandemics. Shoppers will stay more time at home. The Company will thus strengthen the online and offline marketing strategies for further integrating and enhancing customers' loyalty and satisfaction.


Future

The situation of COVID-19 outbreak in Hong Kong remains volatile amid my preparation of Executive Report. The global disaster shows no signs of relieving either. It is predicted that the economy will continue to decline, unemployment rate and poverty will continue to worsen. Perhaps this is also the critical time for social enterprises to perform greater functions. "MentalCare Connect" will continue to integrate social and internal resources to live up our mission. I would like to express my special gratitude to my frontline staff who committed to their work with providing high-quality retail and catering services to patients and the general public. At the same time, I would like to thank the board of directors for their trust and support to me, and for their care and generosity to the staff of "MentalCare Connect"