The Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group has been supporting families in the Swindon area for 25 years. Firstly, as a branch of the National Down’s Syndrome Association and since 2003 as a Charity in our own right but affiliated to the National body.
On 2nd June 2010, The Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group were announced as one of 103 UK volunteering groups to win this year’s The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for volunteer groups.
The prestigious National Honour recognises outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups voluntarily devoting their time for the benefit of others. It sets the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering, with the work of those awarded being judged of the highest standard.
Winners of this year’s Award were selected from 341 groups nominated by members of the public who have been helped personally or witnessed the benefits of a group’s work in their community.
Speaking of their success, Kim West, Jo Messenger and Nicky Parker from The Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group said: “We are honoured and humbled to have received this prestigious award for the work that we do for supporting our people with Down’s Syndrome and their families in the Swindon area”. The nomination was made by Cliff Puffett and supported by their Patron Howard Taylor.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Main Award Committee Chair and former broadcast journalist Martyn Lewis CBE said,
“Outstanding volunteer groups across the UK all too often go without recognition for the truly amazing work they do, despite the vital part they play in helping bind our communities together. It’s a great pleasure to celebrate the efforts of The Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and help raise awareness of all they do for the benefit of others.”
We are a parent-led group run entirely by volunteers. We don’t have an office so all money raised goes directly towards supporting families. The Group is run by a committee of 10 trustees that meet on a monthly basis. We support over 100 families and offer information and resources to over 80 professionals involved with the care and education of children and adults with Down’s syndrome.
The money raised by Swindon Cares will enable us to:
- Run gym sessions. The sessions concentrate on keeping fit, improving co-ordination, and team work. There are 2 sessions one for 5-10 year olds and one for 11 plus. The sessions are run by qualified personal trainers.
- Provide fortnightly swimming lessons at the Thamesdown Hydrotherapy Pool with a specialist instructor. The children and young adults work towards nationally recognised awards.
- Hire a coach for a summer outing – although the main reason for going is to have fun, it is so much more. Parents support each other; siblings have a fun day and get a chance to meet with other children in the same position as themselves.
- Run an annual training day aimed mainly at teaching staff but also parents, educational psychologists, portage workers, community nurses and speech therapists.