The coronavirus pandemic has changed day-to-day life for many of us, but staff at a Cheshire charity are determined it won’t stop them from spreading their message for World Down Syndrome Day.
Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group are urging school children and supporters to wear bright socks and challenge themselves to do an activity 21 times at school or home to mark the occasion on 21st March. The date, which is the 21st of the 3rd month, represents the 3 copies of chromosome 21 which is unique to people with Down’s syndrome.
Ordinarily the charity, which was set up in 2007 by a group of local mums who all had babies with Down’s syndrome, fundraise by selling gingerbread sock biscuits and present awareness assemblies at schools across Cheshire. This year, they have sent out digital packs to schools complete with a recorded assembly for teachers to play to children in their classrooms. They have also sent activity packs to members and plan to celebrate the day with an online ‘Singing Hands’ Makaton disco party.
Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group CEO, Lawrence Caygill comments:
“There is no doubt that this World Down Syndrome Day will be different to usual but staff at the charity have made sure it is no less impactful and have worked hard to create digital solutions to celebrate the day and raise awareness of Down’s syndrome in our community. We are always blown away by the support we receive from Cheshire schools and businesses and hope that they enjoy wearing bright socks, taking up Challenge 21 and watching the awareness film that we have recorded.”
The charity recently launched a #lostinlockdown: Our Future Matters campaign which calls for ministers to allocate a portion of the £300 million the Government has committed to help catch-up learning this year to be ringfenced for young adults with Down’s Syndrome. They have written to Cheshire MPs urging them to raise the issue and solution with Sir Kevan Collins, the Government’s Education Recovery Commissioner and the Department of Education and launched a national petition which currently has over 2,600 signatures.