Local charity, Ups and Downs Southwest, was presented with a cheque for nearly £250 by the Westonzoyland Carnival Club.
The Westonzoyland-based charity was set up by Wendy O’Carroll 17 years ago, when her son, Oliver, was born with Down’s syndrome. The charity has supported around 500 families who have a child with Down’s syndrome across the Southwest. Wendy says: “about 50 babies will be born with Down’s syndrome in the Southwest this year. We want to make sure we are there for them with the right support and information at the right time. We help families and children right from birth all way up to college, for example running play groups, family days and youth clubs. We also provide a Schools Advisory Service supporting schools with information about how to get the most from their pupil who has Down’s syndrome.”
“I’m passionate about making sure children and young people with Down’s syndrome are given every chance in life”, she explains. “All too often our kids aren’t seen for what they CAN do. When my son was a baby, we were told that he would have difficulty walking and talking yet now he’s a great skate-boarder and gives interviews on the radio. He’s hoping to become a professional photographer and holds annual exhibitions. You can see samples of his work on his website: www.oliverhellowell.com and follow him on facebook at www.facebook.com/OliverHellowellPhotographer
Lisa Heard of the Westonzoyland Carnival Club said: “We felt it was important to support a local charity that provides essential services and support to many families across the Southwest.”
“The funds raised will go towards our Easter Family Day”, Wendy adds, ”which provides a chance for many families to get together. It’s a great opportunity for the children to have a play, while their parents socialise and exchange ideas. It really is a life-line for many of our families, as well as being a great day out!”
“We’d really like to thank the people of Westonzoyland for their support and generosity”, says Wendy. “Our thoughts are obviously very much with the flood victims at the moment. So many local people are affected or know someone who is affected. We do extend a big thank you to everyone who has been so generous despite the challenging weather that has brought so much disruption and chaos.”
If you’d like to find out more, visit the charity’s website: www.upsanddowns.net