Derry support group celebrates funding for outreach officer

Zoe Higgins pictured with her mum Colette.

Zoe Higgins pictured with her mum Colette.

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Foyle Down Syndrome Trust is celebrating after receiving a grant of just under £23,000.

The money, from Genetic Disorders UK, will be used to fund a year’s salary for a Social and Personal Development Outreach Officer at the Trust.

Lorraine Gallen, Trust Manager, says: “This grant is wonderful news. It means we can facilitate a Social and Personal Development Programme for children and their parents affected by Down Syndrome.

“This includes activities such as canoeing, the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, arts and crafts classes and supervised weekends away.”

Foyle Down Syndrome Trust supports children such as Zoe Higgins (pictured) both educationally through One to One Home Education lessons and socially through its Social and Personal Development programme.

Zoe, who’s aged nine, attends a mainstream school and is being helped by the grant through activities such as ‘Monkeynastics’, horseriding and swimming.

Genetic Disorders UK is the national charity that organises the annual Jeans for Genes Day fundraising event when school children and office workers wear their jeans in exchange for a donation to the charity.

Although, individually, genetic disorders are rare, together they affect 1 in 25 children.

This means that more than 30,000 babies each year are born in the UK with a genetic condition. Indeed, genetic disorders are the biggest cause of death of children aged 14 years and under. Funds from Jeans for Genes Day are granted to specialised charities to provide care and support for children affected by genetic disorders. This year’s Jeans for Genes Day will take place on Friday, October 5.

Caroline Harding, CEO of Genetic Disorders UK, says: “We are delighted to be helping Foyle Down Syndrome Trust support children with Down Syndrome. Our grant programme is open to all UK support groups and registered charities who work to improve the lives of children and families affected by genetic disorders.

“In 2012, 24 charities will benefit from the funds raised by the public on Jeans for Genes Day.”

More information can be found at www.foyledownsyndrometrust.org