We are very excited to announce that we have been successful in receiving funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund.
One of the main areas of need for our children and young people is the area of communication. All our children /young people will have some level of learning disability and some difficulty with speech and language. The Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group provides weekly speech and language sessions to its members during term time and has done so for nearly 20 years.
Speech and language sessions for our children and young people is about increasing their vocabulary, giving them clarity of speech, understanding of language, teaching signs but most of all increasing their confidence and self-esteem by encouraging them to speak, giving them the structure and words they need to do this.
Regular Speech and Language Therapy gives our young people the opportunity to develop their speech and comprehension skills, enabling them to go on to achieve far more than otherwise have been possible for them, and to become much better integrated it into the community.
Because of the outbreak of Coronavirus, the groups Trustees had to think outside the box and find an alternative way to continue to provide this crucial service. Which is when the idea of virtual speech came about.
One of our parents has said “My son would have lost so much progress if these sessions had not been put into place. He loves seeing the power points and seeing his name on the screen. Having the virtual sessions has helped him have that little bit of normality in these unsure times. He looks forward to the sessions.”
Kim West, the Chair of the Swindon Down’s Syndrome group has said “Speech therapy needs to become part of their everyday routine and brought into everyday situations. It’s about making it fun and normal, not different. The ability to communicate is such a basic need, it enables our young people to communicate choice, feelings, needs and allows them to socialise and in turn speak for themselves. For all of us, being able to communicate is a fundamental part of our ability to be a part of our communities, workplaces and families.”
Our virtual sessions are fun, and each session is backed up with home learning and resources to print or packs are sent out by the therapist to help continue the work covered in that session.
We are extremely grateful to the National Lottery and DCMS for this support and it will help us to continue with our virtual Speech and Language Therapy Group through this difficult time. This will really benefit the young people and ensure their future is safe while we are coming to terms with a different way of dealing with things.
A final year degree student, studying graphic design at Swindon College has won the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group’s Christmas card design competition.
Anna Russell’s design was chosen as the winning entry by the charity trustee’s. The charity launched the competition back in June and specifically chose to work with Swindon College students.
Charity Trustee, Cailey Whitcher said “For us it’s so important to work with our local community and working with the students at Swindon College seemed like the perfect opportunity. We know there’s a lot of talented students on the course and we wanted to give the winner the opportunity to have their work showcased.
“Anna’s design really impressed us. She took some traditional themes and added her own artistic twist. She really listened to our brief and came up with something that we think everyone will want to buy.”
Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group have picked two of Anna’s designs, “In the Snow” and “Christmas Robin at Night” to use on their cards that are on sale now. The cards are £3.50 per pack and can be purchased from the group.
Proceeds from the sale of the cards will go towards the Group’s Speech and Language Therapy project. Cailey continued, “For all of us, being able to communicate is a fundamental part of our ability to be part of our communities, workplaces and families. Regular speech and language therapy gives our young people the opportunity to develop their speech and comprehension skills, enabling them to go on to achieve far more than might otherwise have been possible for them, and to become a much bigger part of our community.”
The cards have been printed by local printer CATs Solutions (Emagination Store), based in Rushy Platt who are supporting the charity’s Christmas campaign this year. Greg Smith, Managing Director said, “It was a pleasure to be able to support such a fantastic local charity who do such great work, we hope the cards help them raise lots of money”.
Christmas cards can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group is on the shortlist to win a share of Persimmon Homes’ Building Futures £1million pot supporting under-18s nationwide but first they need online votes to win.
Persimmon Homes Wessex is backing Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group to be a prize winner at a gala dinner in October, where cash awards of £100,000, £50,000 or £20,000 will be made to those winning the most online votes.
Kim West representing The Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group said: “It is a huge achievement to have been selected as a regional finalist, but now we really need people to get behind us and get voting so that we are in the strongest possible position to earn one of the top three cash awards on the night.
The Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group is a parent-led volunteer group, run by 10 Trustees and we support around 100 families within the SN Postcode. If we were successful, the money will go towards our Speech and Language Therapy Project.
For all of us, being able to communicate is a fundamental part of our ability to be part of our communities, workplaces and families. Regular Speech and Language Therapy gives our young people the opportunity to develop their speech and comprehension skills, enabling them to go on to achieve far more than might otherwise have been possible for the, and to become much better integrated into the community.
We have seen the Speech and Language Therapy Service transforming the lives and prospects of our young people. We can only continue to provide this service if we are able to raise sufficient funds. We are therefore extremely grateful to Persimmon Homes to have been chosen as a regional finalist and if we were to win one of the top three prizes, it would secure this project for come considerable time”.
Kim added: “Voting could not be simpler. Just visit to www.persimmonhomes.com/building-futures and select Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group and vote for us we would really appreciate everyone’s support.”
Building Futures is being delivered through the Persimmon Charitable Foundation, which last year donated £620,000 to support children’s sport.
Through Building Futures, a total of 128 grants of £1,000 have been awarded to groups supporting sport, education & arts and health across Persimmon’s 31 regional businesses and its head office.
Persimmon Homes is an official partner of Team GB and the Persimmon Charitable Foundation enlisted the help of medallists Kat Copeland and Callum Skinner to help determine the three regional finalists for each business division.
One initiative from each category will go on to win £100,000 each through a national award scheme to be decided by a public vote.
As well as the £100,000 first prize, there will be a £50,000 second prize and a £20,000 third prize in each sector, while a further 87 shortlisted projects will each receive £5,000.
Online voting is now open and will close at midnight on September 27.
To support the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group please visit: https://www.persimmonhomes.com/building-futures/finalists?categoryid=3#vote
Did you know that you can help us raise funds simply by recycling your ink cartridges via our Recycle4Charity programme?
For each inkjet cartridge recycled via the programme we will receive a £1 donation, meaning you can help the environment whilst raising money for charity!
To start, all you need to do is go to the address shown below and sign up for your free account.
Register now at – http://www.recycle4charity.co.uk/Register/C2829
There was a great atmosphere this week at Wiltshire Police HQ in Devizes as Kim West and her daughter, Sophie, collected a cheque for £4,357.31. The special event was held to thank the twelve companies who supported our Down’s syndrome awareness campaign and bought #Lotsofsocks.
“It was a real honour and a privilege for Sophie and I to attend Wiltshire Police to thank the companies that raised this incredible amount of money through selling #Lotsofsocks back in March this year.”
The Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group would like to thank Royal Mail, Trowbridge Sorting Office, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, Salisbury Police, Swindon Police, APD,Avon rubber plc, Devizes School, Wadworth Brewery (Devizes),Aster, Salisbury Fire Station,Fairfield Farm College and Wiltshire Police Devizes HQ themselves.
“Sophie presented each company with a certificate on behalf of the Group to thank them for their hard work and commitment. It was lovely to hear Chief Constable Kier Pritchard talk about how he had set a target for Roy Perrett to sell 1,000 pairs of socks and beat their 2018 total of 909. It’s fair to say Roy and his team smashed that target out of the water through their pure hard work and determination.”
Roy did not work alone, he was helped by Jeremy, Luke, Edward and Vivien whom have Down’s syndrome but are all employed by Wiltshire Police through the WorkFit Programme. Jeremy and Luke work at Devizes HQ, Vivien works for Swindon Police and Edward volunteers in the Police Records office in Salisbury.
Kim then spoke a little about WorkFit and was given the opportunity to thank everyone for the amazing amount of money raised, but more importantly, raising awareness of Down’s syndrome. She said how seeing the community come together was really quite extraordinary and heart-warming.
The afternoon was then drawn to a close but not before Roy Perrett and Chief Constable Kier Pritchard stated next year was going to be even bigger and better so watch this space.
Thank you once again Wiltshire Police for your tremendous support.
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.
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.
The 6th Phoenix Santa Run at Lydiard Park will be held on Sunday 3 December, benefiting the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Swindon Down Syndrome Group
Open to Adults, Children and the dog. Entry applications and payment in advance. Adult £15, Youth £8, Child £5, 4yrs and under Free, Dogs Free (but must be on a lead).
How to register and full event details will follow soon. Watch this space!