A GROUP supporting children with Down’s syndrome and their parents is now looking for new premises in Warrington thanks to funding from Children in Need.
Amanda Glennon, from Lower Whitley, set up the group Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group after giving birth to twins Alice and Joe.
The pair, now aged eight, were unusual at the time as Alice was diagnosed aged five-days-old with Down’s Syndrome but Joe did not have the genetic condition.
Mum Amanda said: “At that time I had no idea what that meant and had some old-fashioned preconceptions of Down’s syndrome.
“We came home from hospital with no information and no where to go.
“Luckily my health visitor was also working with a mum with a 10-month-old Down’s syndrome child and we came up with the idea of starting our own group.”
Since then the organisation has gone from strength to strength in the last seven years from being a pre-school group where parents can chat and gain support to a lasting legacy in the form of training a makaton tutor to help youngsters and parents communicate.
Amanda added: “It grew into a place for training, education and raising awareness.
“People used to say Down’s syndrome children couldn’t read past a certain age but then it was discovered if the text was bigger, they could so there was the opportunity to unlock potential new learning.
“We went to baby signing classes to communicate with Alice and then moved on to makaton.
“We wanted training for as many schools, friends, peers and networks as possible but it was so expensive.
“That’s when I wrote to Children in Need and we got the funding to train a group member to become a regional tutor and started a signing club which is something we’re all really proud of.”
The group is run from a base in Winsford for the whole of Cheshire but they are now looking for volunteers and a venue in Warrington.
Amanda, project manager, added: “We have moved forward so much and the majority of children in the group go to mainstream schools and have support in classrooms.
“They’re members of society and can live semi-independent lives.
“Having Alice has opened our lives to so much and become so much more enriched.”
The group are also helping to raise awareness ahead of global event World Down Syndrome Awareness Day on March 21.
Visit cheshiredownssyndrome.com for more information.