A project that aims to increase inclusion for children with Down’s syndrome (DS) and improve their health and wellbeing through communication support has been launched by Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group (CDSSG).

The initiative that includes one-to-one speech therapy, group therapy, community training, workshops and parent drop-in sessions has been funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery through the Postcode Community Trust. They have pledged £5,609 which will help children with DS in the region and their families.

CDSSG currently supports around 150 families in Cheshire where a relative has DS. Recent research carried out by the charity into the hopes and fears of parents and carers of children with DS in Cheshire found that 60 per cent of families of children with DS in the county are concerned about the level of speech and language support for their child.

Over the course of a year, the Empowered Communication project will reach 30 pre-school children every month and 20 primary aged children with DS will be assessed by a speech and language therapist. In addition, Makaton resources will be made available to parents and carers as well as community groups such as Clubs and Brownies.

CEO of Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group, Julie Duff comments:

“We’re so grateful to have received this funding from the Postcode Community Trust. Great communication is fundamental to children’s development and relationships and kids with Down’s syndrome are no different from anyone else! With the right support, children with Down’s syndrome can access community groups such as Cubs and Brownies, they can tell their families about their day, share jokes with their friends and answer the teacher’s questions in class. This project is much needed and we’re delighted to be able to deliver it with this generous funding.”

John Robson, community programmes advisor at People’s Postcode Lottery said:

“The communication sessions and workshops that Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group will provide through its Empowered Communication project will no doubt stay with the children, the parents and the carers that it supports as they continue in life. I’m incredibly proud that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting this invaluable project with funding from Postcode Community Trust.”

If anyone would like to access this project or the services of Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group please see their website www.cheshiredownssyndrome.com, email admin@cdssgroup.org.uk or call 01606 246171.