Downright Excellent began as a small group in a living room in Haringey, started by Suzanne Williams who worked with young children with additional needs. Suzanne had received training run by the Down Syndrome Educational Trust (DownsEd) and wanted to put their research into practice.
She moved jobs to Surestart in Islington- who in May 2006 contributed £2000 for a pilot project – and Downright Excellent was off. Suzanne ran the Speech and Language groups for children age 0-4 with Downs Syndrome.
The group was joined in 2007 by Lucy Newham whose son, Leo, has Down syndrome. Along with Debs Carlin, another mother, Lucy worked tirelessly applying for funding to expand the group and find specialised premises.
Downright Excellent was registered as a charity in September 2007. Administration and organising was originally done by parents, but is now mainly run by a Board which includes parent trustees.
As a charity, we are continually fundraising. Parents and friends run marathons for us, we receive generous donations and we produce Christmas Cards and other items for sale. Our parents are a constant source of inventive schemes for combining fundraising with family fun days – for example, our annual sponsored walk on Hampstead Heath, which has been a great success in the past.
We have occupied three different premises since 2006. We started out in St George’s Church Hall, moved to Willow Children’s Centre, and are now extremely happy to be in the wonderful Golden Lane Children’s Centre at Barbican.
We are grateful to everyone at Golden Lane for the use of their lovely stay and play facilities, outside space and the rooms we use for teaching. We also thank the Richard Cloudesley Special School at Golden Lane for allowing us to use their state of the art physio room.
Our aims are to help children with Down syndrome in London to develop their life skills so they may reach their full potential as individuals and equally participating members of society through, especially but not exclusively:
- educational programmes
- quality play
- education and support for parents
- education and support for siblings
Our charity number is 1120863