Hello and welcome to the summer edition of the Down Syndrome Centre North East, and we have lots of updates for you. Where to begin??
National Lottery Good Causes Awards – County Winner!
On Monday we were informed that we're a County Winner of the National Lottery Good Causes Award for the group activities we ran last July and August 2021 at our centre in Carrickmacross. The return to groups last Summer was momentous for us as we wanted to ensure we were able to provide fun, play based sessions, but in a safe and measured manner amongst ever changing covid19 rules and restrictions. This award just goes to show how this has been acknowledged at a very high level. We ran Moo Music for the babies and toddlers; Early Intervention for our pre-schoolers and school ready children; Drama, Mindfulness and Social groups for our school going children as well as individual Occupational Therapy and a three-day workshop with Ceol Connected. We now must wait and hear which 35 organisations make it through to the National Finals. Please keep everything crossed.
About summer, we are finalising our new 2022 groups and activities and the parents that completed the recent expression of interest survey will be contacted shortly informing them of their child's exciting activity over the 6-week summer period. We also have some parenting workshops in the pipeline and one or two daytrips if we can manage it! If you missed the survey but would still like to see if there's a suitable group for your child, please email Denise email@example.com ASAP with your child's name and date of birth. Places dependent on group suitability and availability.
Staffing at DSCNE
We warmly welcome Denise Marron who recently joined the team as Caitriona's maternity leave and acting as Centre Manager for the next year. Please do say hello and introduce yourself to her next time you're in or talking to her.
We also have a new Board member, Bridget Finnegan who brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to add to our current excellent team of voluntary Directors.
Rosie Mooney and Bernice Treanor also recently joined us as volunteer Support workers and are sharing their childcare experiences with our Early Intervention and Handwriting without Tears groups. This is in addition to Kathy Rooney and our trusty volunteers Heather and Annagh.
We will need more volunteers to assist with our summer programme so if you have relevant qualifications or experience with childcare or know someone that is interested and keen to gain valuable experience in a fantastic setting, please put them in touch with us. We ask for a minimum commitment of 3 hours over 2 days as we will have groups running Monday to Friday. Volunteers must be a minimum of 18 years old.
We're also looking for some support with our PR and Digital Marketing and have voluntary roles associated with administrative work also so there's something for everyone. For more information on any of the voluntary positions please reach out to Denise via phone 042 942 3181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll be happy to pass on more information.
Easter Family Fun
Easter seems an almost distant memory, but we had a great family fun day at the Iontas, in Castleblayney on 14th April. 30 children, and their siblings and families, took part in various workshops such as Easter Bonnet making and dance and movement, followed by an exclusive performance of the highly comical Ballet Poulet. Thanks goes to Monaghan County Libraries who directed us to funding for this special day, the Iontas for providing the venue free of charge, MIAN photography for generously giving their time and expertise to photograph the event, facilitators, DSCNE staff and the volunteers who helped the day go smoothly and everyone that attended. We hope you enjoyed it. It was wonderful to see so many families mixing socially once again and lots of laughter and chat could be seen over coffee cups and scones!
That week we were also treated to a visit by Ministers Heather Humphreys and Anne Rabbitte, along with local politicians and visitors. Minister Rabbitte was so impressed with our facilities she announced the proposal that DSCNE should be one of five bespoke centres around the country to deliver HSE services for children with Down Syndrome in the North East. We have no further information at this stage but welcome discussions and research in to how this might be implemented in the future and hope that we can assist even more families across the region.
At the start of May the Chapman family took on a personal family challenge, and rode their bicycles, towing their children 54 miles from Oldcastle, Co. Meath to Carrickmacross! This was a joint fundraiser for both our centre and DownSyndrome LouthMeath and we all welcomed them home and provided them with a huge round of applause (and some tea, cake and balloons!!) At the finish line. Altogether they raised over €15,000 for both charities such we are so thankful for. Well done, Sabrina, Derek, Emmet and Fia and thank you so much!
Dates for your diary as two other DSCNE families are involved with local community fundraisers for our charity that you might like to attend and support:
Sunday 26th June - Shelagh Vintage Run, Co. Louth.
Contact Naomh Malachi GAA club for more information. Music and refreshments afterwards.
Sunday 10th July - Charity Pony Drive starting 3pm at Cross Square, with refreshments and music after at Tyholland Complex, Co. Monaghan
We also wish the ladies that are partaking in the Women's Mini Marathon in Dublin this weekend the very best of luck! Send us your pictures with your finisher’s medals! As a local charity, we rely on fundraising, and are grateful for every donation that is given to us and families taking on their own fundraising efforts.
Charity Calendar 2023
Our annual fundraiser for the 2023 Charity Calendar is also in full planning with the photoshoot and models booked, and the theme nearly finalised. We have various levels of sponsorship packages starting from €300, upwards, if you know of any companies that would like to sponsor a month, or indeed take on the full or medium packages. Last year we sold 3500 and plan to sell even more this year across the North East region, and beyond. Our online shop means we can sell all over Ireland and internationally. If you are interested in looking at the packages or know of a shop/business/Christmas market/fair that we could sell the calendars at, we would love to hear from you. Email Denise email@example.com
321 Go Neon and Lots of Socks for WDSD
Hopefully you all saw our recent announcements of the hugely successful 321 GoNeon and Lots of Socks campaigns we ran in March. Together, these raised over €62,000 which will go towards continuing to support our services and subsidising therapies, activities and supports for families across the North East region for the rest of the year. Thanks to you if you took part in one or both!
A reminder, our website has a member only area, which gives access to our online lending library. DSCNE service users should have received an email with the link to become a “member” and then you can view the library. Items include See and Learn Packs, textbooks, children’s books, OT equipment, and we will be adding more items to this in the future. Up to three items can be loaned out at one time, for 28 days, free of charge. Collection/pick up only from DSCNE during our opening hours. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you require any support with creating an account and renting items.
Last but not least (or should be say leaf!!), the first of the families partaking in Ceol Connected's Lullaby Leaf workshops were treated to a full sensory experience on 27th May with more families enjoying this in early July. The show will then tour the North East in October/November so watch out for more information on this.
We still have spaces available on our Steering Group which is made up of parents of children of different ages, and community representatives. They now meet virtually every two months (and in person when needed to discuss extra exciting topics) so if you would like to join and have your say, you would be most welcome. The Steering Group feeds into the planning process for activities in the Centre and is supported by the office administration team. Meetings last a maximum of 2 hours, bi-monthly so the time commitment is minimal, but your impact will be most appreciated. Email email@example.com for more information or to find out who current members are if you’d like to chat with them for the real insider scoop!
As a reminder, if anyone is experiencing any financial difficulties at any time, please know you can speak to the Centre Manager in complete confidence. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and Denise will arrange to meet or call you.
If you have any other questions or queries, please do get in touch, and share this newsletter with your friends and family. We love to hear from new people!
Caitriona Crosby, Denise Marron, and all at DSCNE