Challenging Inequality

A Note from Our Chairperson

Sue Dennis

Sue Dennis - Chair Ups and Downs Southwest

We thought that it might be interesting to share with you all that Jo and I are working on at the moment. We are making a bid to the Bristol Impact Fund (BIF) to extend the work of the Service. As you all know we secured the funds to start a similar service to the one we have at the moment, in Bristol and that will be starting very soon. But this one is different, and we think a natural step for us to take in supporting the next age group up. This piece of work will be with post sixteen young people and adults.

Our submission (because that is all it is at the moment) is to challenge inequality, promote inclusion and participation in the community, recruit and train community volunteers, increase the choices of subjects and studies in Further Education and training establishments and support people into work, which is appropriate, meaningful and paid properly.

Currently there are approximately 680 people with Down Syndrome in Bristol. As many as 25% of these adults do not receive their rights and entitlements. Many do not attend their local community groups and activities, for no sensible reason. The very small number who go on to complete further education or training are often only offered a very small choice of subjects they can study or be trained in. Fewer than 6% of all young people and adults with Down Syndrome have are employed and of those, many have meaningless tasks for which they are expected to be grateful and fewer than 1% are paid!

These are shocking statistics. We have used them in our bid and clearly defined what we have learnt from over twenty years working with children and young people in the south west as the basis for the work we would do if we secured the funding.

So, a big thank you to all of you who have ever given feedback, filled in a questionnaire, told us what worked for you and what did not.  All this information equips us to make this bid. If we are successful, the work we do in Bristol will also have a knock-on effect in Somerset and the rest of the West Country, so, fingers crossed! We will keep you posted.

(Statistics: Down Syndrome Association “ Workfit”)


Sue Dennis.

Chair of the Board of Trustees.

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