All posts by Cailey Whitcher

We are looking for a Clerk to Trustees 

Can you spare a few hours once a month to support the trustees of the Swindon Downs Syndrome Group? We are looking to appoint a Clerk to the take the minutes at our trustees meetings.

We meet roughly every four weeks on a Tuesday evening from 7pm in Swindon.

The ideal person will have excellent communication and organisational skills, be able to work independently whilst at the same time forming effective relationships with trustees. No previous experience is required.

This is a voluntary role.

The clerk would be responsible for:

  • Recording the attendance of at meetings (and any apologies – whether they have been accepted or not), and take appropriate action in relation to absences, including advising absent trustees of the date of the next meeting
  • Draft minutes of trustees meetings indicating who is responsible for agreed actions with timescales, and send drafts to the trustees for review
  • Circulate the reviewed draft to all trustees and within the timescale agreed with the governing body
  • Follow-up any agreed action points with those responsible and inform the trustees of progress

To apply please email detailing why you would like this role, your skills and any previous experience.

About Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group

We have been supporting people with Down’s syndrome, and their families since the Group was founded in 1984. We now have over 80 members who range from children and adults with Down’s syndrome, their parents, carers and supporters in the local community.

We work hard to raise awareness of the work we do to support people with Down’s syndrome.

Our aim is to support people with Down’s syndrome, providing information, help and activities to them and their families.

Our purpose is to help people with Down’s syndrome to have the same opportunities as everyone else. We offer support from the moment a child is born right through to adulthood. We have tailor-made resource packs to help parents at every stage of their child’s development. We connect people to essential services available in our local area.

Our toddler groups, youth club and family activity days allow our members to regularly meet with each other and build their own network.

We provide regular group activities for our people with Down’s syndrome, giving them a great opportunity to socialise and make friends. From term time football training to weekly tennis sessions; fortnightly and holidays swimming sessions to our Salamander Fire Course; and regular parties and family trips.

SDSG receives grant from Wiltshire Community Foundation to support our parent packs

Earlier this month Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group received the exciting news that we have been awarded a grant of £1946.95 from Wiltshire Community Foundation to continue to provide our new parent and school transition packs.

The arrival of a new born baby is supposed to be a joyous occasion but unfortunately sometimes the post-natal diagnosis of Down’s syndrome can over shadow the happy occasion. We want to congratulate new parents on the birth of their baby with our congratulation packs. The packs contain a congratulations card, a toy, a blanket, a cardigan, milestone cards plus books on early years development and experiences of other parents.

Last year we revamped our new parent packs, reducing the amount of information we share with new parents in one go, creating additional packs to be given at three, six and 12 months.

School transitions can be scary for most children but for those with Down syndrome it poses many more challenges. Our children don’t adapt easily to change, especially a change in routine. A new school involves a change of teacher, classmates and syllabus. Our school transition packs help tackle these challenges.

Cailey Whitcher, trustee of the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group said: “We are thrilled to have received support from Wiltshire Community Foundation, this project will allow us to support new mums and dads during those early days and help our young people transition smoothly to their new schools.”


Half Term Soft Play

Join us on Wednesday 14 February at Jungle Mania for an indoor soft play session

We would like to invite all our members aged 11 and under and their siblings to join us for a soft play session at Jungle Mania Soft Play Centre.

We will be meeting at 9.30am on Wednesday 14 December. The cost will be £1 per child (payable on the day to Michelle James).

It’s a great opportunity for the kids to play and the parents to chat. Please note children remain the responsibility of their parents at all times.

If you would like to join us please book your place by Wednesday 7 February.  Simply email with your child’s name(s).

Jungle Mania Soft Play
Unit 9, Crompton Road, Groundwell Industrial Estate, Swindon SN25 5AY.

AGM 2018

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held at The Gateway Church, Swindon at 7.00pm for 7.15pm prompt start on Tuesday 27 February.

The AGM is the formal part of the evening. After the formalities there will be an opportunity for you to meet and chat with other members of the group. We will be joined by Holly Sullivan and her father Mike. In 2017 Holly earnt a place in the Down Syndrome Swimming GB Team. Holly competed in the Down Syndrome European Championships in October and came home with an array of medals. Holly and Mike are happy to chat about their adventures in Paris and I’m sure we can persuade Holly to show off her medals.

We would like to invite you to join us for some food – jacket potatoes with a choice of fillings. All we ask is for £2.50 per person towards the cost of the food. Please let us know by 13 February if you will be attending and staying for food, simply email

Election of Trustees and voting procedures at AGM
At our AGM, all Trustee positions become vacant and elections are held to fill them for the coming year. We welcome nominations for our Chairperson and subsequent nine Trustees.

How to apply
The closing date for applications is 13 February 2018. Please complete and return the attached form or email your application to


Coffee Mornings


Saturday 3 February 2018 from 10.30am-12.30pm
Saturday 10 March 2018 from 10.30am-12.30pm

Sometimes all you need is good old conversation about the weather or your favourite soap. You might even want to pick the brains of another mum or dad or just catch up with your friends in the Group. Whatever you fancy talking about our coffee mornings are for just that… a good old chat and a cup of tea!

Join us at The Gate in Havelock Square, SN1 1LE. We will be on the second floor serving teas, coffees and some delicious cakes. We have toys and a dedicated play area for the little ones too. We’d love to see you and your families join us, feel free to just pop in for 10 minutes or stay for the whole time.



Jumble Sale 10 February

Our next Jumble Sale is Saturday 10 February, 10am until 12noon at St.Barnabas Church, Gorse Hill. If you have any jumble you can donate or if you can spare some time to help on the day we would love to see you! All the money we raise on the day goes back to supporting all the great projects to support our young people with Down’s Syndrome.

Team Alex enter Santa Run

On a bright dry Sunday in December ‘Team Alex’ entered the 5K Swindon Phoenix Rotary Club Santa run to raise money for Swindon Downs Syndrome Association.

‘Team Alex’ was led by Alex Heathcote and supported by Mum Carol and Uncle Paul and spaniel Toby.

Alex, 23, had been looking for a personal challenge for a while and this fitted the bill. Alex is sporty and plays a lot of tennis and enjoys walks with the dogs but 5K at pace would mean significant effort. He set about his training and fundraising with gusto and with the support and sponsorship of friends and the staff and customers of The Prince Of Wales, Shrivenham where Alex works/volunteers.

Alex loved the whole experience including the Zumba warm up, the encouragement from the marshals along the way and the camaraderie of the event. He put his all into it especially the dash over the line.

Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group has given Alex a lot of support and introduced him to some great friends and it was a pleasure to watch him have so much fun giving something back.

Thank you to everyone who supported, sponsored and encouraged Alex to make his Santa Run so successful.

Valentines Ball

Swindon Phoenix Rotary Club are holding a Valentines Ball on 24th February. Tickets are only £35.00 per head which includes a sparkling glass of wine on arrival, a two course meal with cheese and biscuits, free prize draw and dancing to 24/7 who are a fantastic local band.

Swindon Phoenix Rotary Club have chosen us as their Charity of the Year so it would be great for as many members, friends and families to attend.

To book tickets please contact Nigel Causton at Swindon Phoenix Rotary on 07880707210 or email

Youth club starts 8 January

Our youth club is a great place for our teenagers and adults to meet up with their friends and have fun in a safe secure environment. It gives everyone a chance to chat, play computer games, listen to music, dance, sing or even watch a film. The farmhouse in Toothill has a kitchen, living room plus two games rooms where we have Play Stations, X-boxes, pool tables and air hockey to keep you entertained. We even organise trips bowling and meals out as a group.

The club runs on a fortnightly basis starting Monday 8 January at Toothill Farmhouse, Bodiam Drive, Mondays, 6.30-8.30pm. We ask parents/carers stay on site and to bring £1 to help cover the cost of snacks and hire of the venue.

DS Active Tennis

Tennis is the perfect game for anyone with special needs. It can be adapted to suit any level of ability. Our weekly DSActive tennis session is held at Delta Tennis Centre on Sundays between 5pm and 6pm. Anyone over the age of 5 with Down’s syndrome is welcome.

For further information please contact