Who we are

A Few Words
About Us

OUR JOURNEY TO WHERE WE ARE TODAY

The Down Syndrome Training & Support Service is a registered charity run by and for parents and carers of children who have Down syndrome.

We offer support and training for all parents and professionals working and caring for children with Down syndrome.

Our charity was founded by four families who had young children with Down syndrome in September 2000. It’s first support meeting for families was at Haworth Road Methodist Church Hall; a venue still used once per month for our family Saturday morning sessions.

In 2002 we became a registered charity and in 2009 a charitable company.

In 2005, receiving our first large grant from the Big Lottery Fund we saw big changes to the charity. We established our first small premises on Heights Lane employing one member of staff and began to deliver training courses – written and developed by Wendy Uttley, dance classes for children aged 6 upwards, speech and language group sessions and our very first early develop group was also delivered.

We worked with many local maternity wards to deliver awareness training and developed our new parent pack.

In 2009 we moved to a new centre, in Idle, calling it The Pamela Sunter Centre after a lady called Pamela who happened to have Down syndrome. A legacy had been left following her death and the money was bequeathed to us enabling us to continue to develop our services following the end of our lottery funding.

We moved to our current premises, based in Bingley, January 2013. This now provides a large room for delivering training, two smaller rooms where we deliver our early intervention sessions, ample office space, a parents room, a library room and a large attic where we run our wonderful youth club, the WisH Club (Weekend is Here) which started in 2014.

In 2012 we received our second large grant from the Big Lottery Fund which funded us until the end of 2016.

Throughout 2017 we have run the charity on a very tight budget and without any major donations cannot expand our services. We rely heavily on donations and smaller grants to keep us afloat.

Over the last academic year (2016/17) we delivered 53 training sessions and trained a total of 1070 people and we delivered 5 assemblies to schools to a total of 900 students and 31 staff

We currently support over 360 families and  230 organisations across health, education and social care, writing a monthly newsletter to keep them up to date with our services and other relevant issues in the world of Down syndrome and learning disability.  Fifty children aged birth to 6 years attend our early development groups and sixty children and young people aged 5 +  attend our monthly speech and language group sessions.  We employ one full time and nine part time staff, two of whom happen to have Down syndrome and over 20 volunteers help us to deliver our services, supporting families and assisting with fundraising.

We are very proud of our journey and the progress we have made over the years to improve the education, development and inclusion of children and young people who have Down syndrome.

our staff

  • Jennifer Senior
    Jennifer Senior  started work in March 2017 and is our Youth…
  • Maria Thelwell
    Maria Thelwell  started work  in March 2017 as our lead Youth…
  • Heidi Shepherd
    Heidi Shepherd is our finance coordinator, 20 hours per week, term…
  • Wendy Uttley
    Wendy Uttley is our Coordinator & Trainer, 30 hours per week.…
  • Wendy Rhodes
    Wendy Rhodes is our Family Support and Events Coordinator, 20 hours…
  • Louise Hobley
    Louise Hobley is our Information Coordinator, 10 hours per week, term…
  • Isabel Ashman
    Isabel Ashman is our Early Years Practitioner, 20 hours per week. …
  • Sam Murray
    Sam Murray, assistant youth worker, 4 hours per week
  • Claire Powis
    Claire Powis is our Staff and Funding Coordinator, 10 hours per…
  • Kim Booth
    Kimberley Booth is our Office Assistant, 3.5 hours per week, Wednesday…