New role to help children with Down’s Syndrome is first of its kind in Cheshire

CHILDREN with Down’s syndrome in Cheshire and their families will be given greater educational support thanks to a brand new position funded by a £60,500 grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

Education Advocate, Sandy Hayes, will spend the next three years working with local nurseries, schools and parents across West Cheshire to identify the individual educational needs of each child with Down’s syndrome and set a rolling programme of aims and targets to unlock their potential.

Down’s syndrome is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 in most or all cells. It is a relatively common cause of learning disability, with around 750 babies born each year in the UK. People with Down’s syndrome have a specific learning profile. They share strong visual skills but can have difficulty with their speech production and auditory memory.

The new role will be facilitated by Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group based in Northwich.

CDSSG chief executive, Julie Duff said:

“All children with Down’s syndrome have potential and, thanks to this generous grant by the Steve Morgan foundation, their potential will be realised. Sandy will go into schools to support children and teaching staff and will give Makaton sign language training to parents and professionals to enable them to communicate effectively with their children. We are so grateful to the Steve Morgan foundation for supporting our project.”

Education Advocate, Sandy Hayes, comments:

“I’m very excited to be taking on this brand new position that will support the education of children with Down’s syndrome in Cheshire. 80 per cent of children with Down’s syndrome now attend mainstream primary schools which is a fantastic step forward for inclusion. I will be working with teaching staff to help them get the very best out of the children.”

Founded in 2001 by Steve Morgan CBE, the foundation aims to make a difference to the lives of those suffering from disability or disadvantage in North Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Shropshire. Assets of £300 million have been committed since 2001.

Regional Grants Director of the Steve Morgan Foundation, Jane Harris, comments:

 “Cheshire Down Syndrome Support Group are a vital charity supporting children with Down’s Syndrome and their families across the county.

“The activities and services that they provide for well over 100 families across Cheshire is hugely significant and has, up until now, been financed by their own fundraising.

“Our trustee Sally Morgan visited CDSSG during the application process and was very impressed by the plans to improve the support delivered in local schools through the appointment of an Education Advocate.

“The trustees were delighted to support the charity with funding for this position, and wish Sandy all the very best with what will prove such a beneficial role.”

If anyone would like to access the Education Advocate service or for more information please email sandy.hayes@cdssgroup.org.uk or see our website www.cheshiredownssyndrome.com.