A charity that helps over 180 people with Down’s syndrome (DS) and their families in Cheshire has risen to the challenge of continuing to provide support during lockdown.
Friendship groups such as dance, football training and yoga are all being hosted safely online by Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group (CDSSG) thanks to grant funding from the Steve Morgan Foundation, The National Lottery Community Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, Baily Thomas Charitable Fund and B & M Community Fund.
The charity, that was founded in 2007 by a group of Cheshire mums who all have children with DS also employs education advocates who support school children in the county. 80% of primary age children with DS in Cheshire attend mainstream primary schools. The education advocates usually visit children in schools to support them, their parents and teaching staff.
However, with many not currently at school, they have been contacting parents, sending out resources and support information and helping education staff to differentiate work.
Parent support get-togethers and training have been replaced with wellbeing courses and Makaton* training online for parents and carers. The group have even run their pre-school Cheeky Monkeys playgroup online with support from a professional speech and language therapist.
Chief operating officer of Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group, Lucy Liddiard comments,
“Like many local charities we were initially knocked sideways by the rise of the pandemic, however our staff and volunteers have responded swiftly to the new challenges and found creative ways of continuing to deliver the services that are so desperately needed by our families, some of whom are on the NHS shielded patients list and must stay at home.
“We were concerned about whether we could continue financially but thanks to emergency funding made available by the Steve Morgan Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund we’ve been able to help those with DS in our community when they need us the most.”
*Makaton is a unique language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate.
Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group is a small local charity dedicated to supporting families, children and young adults with Down’s syndrome throughout the Cheshire region.
Established in 2007, we are a parent-led group who are entirely self-funding and who rely on the generous support and continued hard work of our many volunteer fundraisers and family groups to succeed in our aims.
Follow Cheshire Downs Syndrome Support Group on Facebook @CDSSGroup and twitter @cdssgroup
To donate to CDSSG via JustGiving please see https://www.justgiving.com/cheshiredownssyndrome
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