On Thursday 14th April we hosted our first ever Easter Family Fun Day for families that attend the Down Syndrome Centre North East – the first time we have socially gathered since Christmas 2019! And it was done in great style!
The Iontas Theatre, Castleblyaney Co. Monaghan was our venue, which was kindly given free of charge for the event, and we had the use of three rooms for workshops, the café and private theatre showing. We felt like VIPs indeed!
30 families were present with their children that attend DSCNE, and siblings also included. There was a morning warm up to introduce everyone and get all excited and ready for the activities, and then groups broke off in three workshops: Funky Feet (Dance and movement) with Jess, HaHa hats for happiness (visual arts) with Raquel and the siblings had their own double visual arts workshop to create some very impressive (and large!) Easter bonnets with Anna. The older siblings also kindly volunteered to help within the groups and supervise areas around the venue which was essential in the smooth running of the day. The parents were invited to enjoy a complimentary tea, coffee and scone and have some much-needed catch ups with friends, as well as meeting new families. Thank you to Hannah and the staff at the Iontas for providing wonderful food and service.
After the workshops, all the children enjoyed a quick lunch in the café with their friends and family before lining up for their exclusive show “Ballet Poulet” with Kim and Con. This was a real treat! Once everyone had found their preferred seat, all were entertained with some very comical ballet and modern dance performances and outfits, rubber chickens, juggling - it even broke out into a chase throughout the audience at one point!
We were very lucky to have Milca and Andy from MIAN photography who generously gave up their time and expertise for free to photograph this event and we look forward to sharing more photos in due course.
Huge thanks goes to Deirdrui McQuaid from Monaghan County Libraries who contacted us in October 2021 to let us know she had some funding available, and how we might be able to best spend it. We were delighted she could also attend the event and see where the funding went. Through much liaising and planning with Mary Farrelly, Creative Associate & Regional Coordinator Creative Schools, the whole event came about with the idea to host an event for the whole family, and the opportunity to explore and experience new facilitators and workshops. We were also lucky that Aidan Campbell, Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council, as his role greatly assists with enabling funding to be available to organisations such as DSCNE.
Another big thank you goes to all the DSCNE staff and volunteers that attended to help the day run smoothly for all the families, and to the children and families that attended – this is the reason DSCNE was set up. Every member of our team is led by one aim: giving children with Down syndrome access to the services & support they need to achieve their individual potential and live independent, fulfilling, and self-determined lives. We want to support and empower individuals with Down syndrome to reach their full potential by providing therapeutic services, training, information and social events for children and young people with Down Syndrome, their families and the professional community in the North East of Ireland.
We look forward to many more social events to come!