Nearly 14 years ago one Leamington mum reached out to fellow parents of children with Down Syndrome in a bid to increase support and awareness locally.
Today, Nicola Enoch is the proud founder of a charity that works with more than 70 local families in and around Warwickshire and is the recipient of several awards.
The Ups of Downs was inspired by her son Tom, now 15, who attends North Leamington School. Nicola was determined that Downs children should not only be supported to achieve their potential, but celebrated in society
The charity runs weekly groups for members aged birth to teenage, providing sing, sign and phonics sessions as well as Early Development Groups for pre-schoolers and sports, drama, yoga and music clubs on Saturdays and regular specialist speech and language therapy. It also recently launched a new Youth Club for older members.
Training is offered to parents and teaching professionals addressing subjects such as sensory issues, behaviour, communication and puberty.
Nicola said: “I started The Ups of Downs as I appreciated the value in meeting with others in the same situation, to be able to share concerns, ask advice, share experiences and offer peer support.
“Our driving ethos is to empower parents to give their child with Down Syndrome every opportunity to develop, flourish and achieve, by providing each parent with the knowledge, confidence, ability and resources.
“The impact has been enormous for parents, the professionals who work with our children and young people and the children and young people themselves.”
The Ups of Downs is one of four finalists in what is, this year, a new category for the Leamington Business Awards.
It is up against Leam Trash Friends, Young People First and P3 - charities which will also benefit from proceeds from the awards ceremony. It is being held on November 15, at the newly renovated Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington and presided over by Master of Ceremonies Dave Sharpe.
Reacting to her charity becoming a finalist, Nicola said: “As a Leamington based charity we are really thrilled to have been selected as finalists in the Leamington Business Awards. It is wonderful recognition of all that we have been doing for the past 13 years promoting inclusion, empowering parents and professionals and ensuring our members are given every chance to thrive!”
For more information about the charity, visit: https://upsofdowns.co.uk To donate to the charity visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/finalCharityHomepage.action?charityId=1003679