THANKS have been extended to members of the public and volunteers as World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated both locally and nationally, writes Mary Dennehy in the Echo.ie
Here in South County Dublin, individuals, families, groups, organisations and businesses are supporting the annual day, including volunteers in the Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI) shop in Templeogue Village.
Shop manager Celine King, who lives in Clondalkin and has a brother with Down syndrome, got involved with Down Syndrome Ireland as a ‘way to give back’. Celine has been managing the Templeogue shop for two years and leads an impressive team of 25 volunteers. She highlighted the important role charity shops play in fundraising for Down Syndrome Ireland, which provides supports and services to people with Down syndrome and their families nationwide.
Speaking with The Echo on World Down Syndrome Day, Celine said: “Charity shops provide regular sustainable income so that DSI can continue to provide vital services to children and adults with Down syndrome.
“I’d like to thank our loyal shop volunteers and customers for their ongoing support, you’re making a big difference, 100 per cent. We have 25 volunteers in the shop, all from the surrounding community… it’s amazing. They’re all fantastic…and create a great atmosphere for customers dropping in.”
Barry Sheridan, the CEO of Down Syndrome Ireland, has encouraged people to continue the ‘support and understanding’ they’ve shown to the charity and its members over the past 52 years.
“[Down Syndrome Ireland provides] a huge range of services to our members, which have enhanced and improved the lives of thousands of children and adults with Down syndrome for over fifty years”, Mr Sheridan said. “We rely on the generosity of the public to keep these services going; less than a quarter of our funding comes from the state, so donations are absolutely vital. With the support of the public, people with Down syndrome have made enormous strides in Ireland. Every person with Down syndrome in Ireland is on a journey, just as Down Syndrome Ireland has been on a journey over the past 52 years. We’re asking the people of Ireland to take that journey with us – to continue the support and understanding they’ve shown to us and our members down through the decades. We’ve already come an incredibly long way together, let’s go the extra mile”.
Speaking on World Down Syndrome Day, he added: “While it is a day for celebration, it would be remiss of us to overlook the barriers and obstacles affecting our members every day, including access to essential therapies, resourcing in schools to meet the educational needs of children with Down syndrome, and the challenges in the Network Disability Teams system. We are calling for a human rights-based approach to allow people with Down syndrome to lead independent lives.”
Learn more on Down Syndrome Ireland and how you can support HERE.
People are also invited to drop by the charity shop in Templeogue Village to browse or donate.