Awareness Week 2018: the best yet!

Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week 2018 (19 and 25 March) saw people across the country celebrating and raising awareness of Down’s syndrome and fundraising for WorkFit and the DSA in a whole variety of different ways.

Many of our WorkFit partners took part in the Great WorkFit Sock Challenge and WorkFit was brilliantly represented at an Open House at the Langdon Down Centre on World Down Syndrome Day (21 March). On the same day a delegation from WorkFit took part in the Down Syndrome International (DSi) World Down Syndrome Day Conference at the UN in New York.

The theme of the DSi conference was “What I Bring To The Workplace”.

WorkFit employers preparing to present at the UN

It brought together Down’s syndrome groups, candidates and employers from across the world to tell their stories and share best practice.

James Trout from the Environment Agency travelled with his employee, Tom and Tom’s mother, Lynn.

Both James and Tom gave a stirring presentation and James said that the Environment Agency’s “…work with the Down’s Syndrome Association and WorkFit has opened my eyes to new ways of thinking”.

Peter Saville and Andrew Constable from Alix Partners participated in a panel discussion with a number of other employers. Peter told the audience that our partnership with the DSA and our direct experiences of our colleagues with Down syndrome is helping us achieve our objectives and build a culture of inclusion across our practice”. Andrew discussed the training provided by WorkFit, saying it proved to be invaluable. It provided all the guidance we needed on how to work with Alfie and how to ensure it was beneficial to Alfie, to me and to the firm”.

Thank you to everyone who joined us in New York.

The WorkFit stand at WDSD

In London the DSA celebrated World Down Syndrome Day by having an “Open House” showcase at our head office in Teddington. During the day we welcomed guests to the building to enjoy a drink and a chat, to find out more about our work, talk to the teams and ran tours of the building. It was a delight to speak to parents, candidates and other interested parties at the WorkFit stand.

In the evening WorkFit candidate Katie from DLL and her colleague Karen were interviewed by our EDO for Yorkshire and Humberside, Cat Rolley. Katie told the audience that the best thing about my job is being able to earn money and get to know people”.  Karen commented on the positive effect Katie has had on DLL saying that: Katie has been an inspiration to our company. We wouldn’t be the same without her”.

The DSA again sold colorful #LotsOfSocks socks to raise money and awareness. Throughout Awareness Week Twitter was abuzz with people posting photos of themselves and their colleagues in their socks- it was very inspiring to see.

This year we launched the Great WorkFit Sock Challenge.  Employers across England and Wales competed to see who could sell the most socks to friends, family and employees. The winner was Morgan Sindall who sold 1,230 pairs – well done to them! Wiltshire Police came second selling 909 socks, Rabobank third with 536 and the Environment Agency sold 300 as part of an ongoing partnership. In total, WorkFit partners sold an amazing 2,975 pairs of socks.

We are so grateful to everyone who took part in Awareness Week. It was amazing to see so much passion and commitment on display. Thank you to everyone for making 2018 the best ever Awareness Week ever.

WorkFit supports people with Down’s syndrome to access meaningful work opportunities that can benefit the rest of their lives. For more information about WorkFit please contact the team on 0333 12 12 300 or email us on dsworkfit@downs-syndrome.org.uk

For more information visit the WorkFit website: www.dsworkfit.org.uk

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