THE Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group must raise £20,000 by March or it faces losing its vital speech and therapy sessions for service users.
The group, affiliated to the National Down’s Syndrome Association, costs £40,000 to run each year, and half of that goes towards the sessions, which help young people practice their speech and language skills in a structured and fun way.
The money must be raised by the end of March in order for the sessions to continue next year and so to help boost funds, the group is running a whole week of events this month.
The fundraising week, which runs from January 14 will include a quiz night, and a disco and bingo night at the Star Bar in Wood Street.
The week will end with the chairperson of the group, Jenny Williams, taking on a 50-mile run and cycle challenge at the De Vere Village on January 18. Jenny, of West Swindon, is hoping the group will raise £10,000 by the end of this month.
She said: “Obviously with the recession people aren’t always able to give at the moment, and grants are a lot harder to come by.
“Every grant that comes up will have so many more groups applying for it so things are a lot harder, but we want to keep our group going and we want it to be the best it can be.
“We have to have £20,000 available by the end of March to be able to carry on with the speech and language therapy next year – it would be huge for us if we lost it.
“We received an MBE back in 2010 and our group is looked upon as a leader in the way groups like this should be run, so it would be a huge loss, especially for all the children and young people that access the service.”
Jenny’s 13-year-old son Callum Brett has been accessing the speech and language therapy service for 10 years.
The mum of five said: “It’s made a huge difference to him. He goes to mainstream school, he is able to be involved with a peer group, he doesn’t have to be isolated from a mainstream classroom.
“It is for the young people, we don’t want anyone to feel isolated, and if we can’t continue, we would be going backwards. If these children can’t communicate, they will feel almost isolated from the outside world.”
Jenny’s fundraising challenge will see her complete 50 miles on a treadmill and exercise bike over 12 hours.
She plans to start at 6.30am on the day and aims to be finished before 6.30pm.
“I am hoping a lot of people will come by and encourage me,” she said.
“I have been training but obviously over Christmas and New Year, it has been lacking a bit.
“I think the bike will be the easier out of the two because you are sitting down, but it will be a challenge. I think just five miles after Christmas would be a challenge for anyone.
“It is to raise money for a good cause so it has to be worth it.”
To sponsor Jenny for the event, visit www.mydonate.bt.com/events/jennywilliams/92877.
To organise a fundraising event, email Jenny at email@example.com.