SUNDOWNS stands for Supporting Understanding Needs of children with Downs and was formed in 2000 after a group of 4 mums all had little girls born with Downs Syndrome, in Arrowe Park Hospital, within 6 months of each other. Quickly realising that there was no support for people in their situation they formed a support group.
This group became so popular that in 2001 SUNDOWNS was granted charity status. This was in order to give the organisation a more professional image as well as being able to attract funding from a greater number of foundations. The aims of the charity are to support people with Downs Syndrome and their families and to raise awareness of the positive contribution people with Downs Syndrome make to society.
The charity now supports over 70 families and operates from an office in Hamilton Square. It is still run purely by volunteers, which means that every penny raised goes directly to the people we support.
In 2004 we were awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the only Wirral charity to receive the award and one of only 10 in the North West. The activities we provide include a bi-monthly Newsletter, social activities for the whole family, monthly support meetings, monthly Art Days, monthly Informative Evenings with guest speakers, awareness raising exercises such as our annual Buddy Walk march which normally attracts around 300 people in a public march, provision of training and equipment to schools who have pupils with Downs Syndrome, provision of training and equipment to hospitals, networking with statutory, community and voluntary organisations to name a few.
Since the charity was formed we have received the following awards
- Wirral CVS Volunteer of the year Award, Specialist Category 2002
- Youth Federation Recognition Award 2004
- The Queens Golden Jubilee Award 2004
- The Dada Fest Community Arts Award Project Award 2005
- Women of The Year Award 2006
We are here to support people with Downs Syndrome, their families and to raise awareness of the positive contribution people with downs syndrome make to society. As parents first and members of Sundowns second we strongly believe in taking a positive attitude towards our children’s future. The last 15 to 20 years have seen great changes in people’s attitudes towards the education of children with Down’s Syndrome and the acceptance of young adults in the work place.
We feel that we owe it to the parents who were fundamental in making those changes happen, not to settle for what has already been achieved but to continue to push the boundaries further. We also feel that we have a responsibility to help the older generation of adults who have not been given the same opportunities afforded to our children and the generations to come. Most importantly we believe that no one should have to cope with the practicalities and emotions of raising a child who has Down’s Syndrome on their own.