Who we are
Downright Excellent’s mission is to maximise the potential of children with Down syndrome. We passionately believe that all our children have skills and talents that should be celebrated and developed to support them to be the best they can be – more than was ever thought possible.
The charity was founded in 2007; we are now seeing those babies who joined us right at the beginning blossoming into independent, capable teenagers, getting ready to embark on the next stage of their lives. We are proud to see the impact that DEx’s support throughout their lives has had.
(Dad of Abi aged 8 who attends Saturday DEx and has two older siblings). Previously CEO of online property lettings business, Upad, winner of the ESTAS best online agent award twice and a Tech Media Invest ‘100 companies to watch’. Non-Executive Director of Prosperity Capital. London Entrepreneur of the Year. Portfolio landlord. Proud dad and contented husband. Now taking on various new challenges, of which this role was timely and fits ‘like a glove’.
Raj provides DEx with company secretarial services and ensures all policies, procedures, and governance process are up to date.
“My mum is a teacher at a SEN school so I've seen first-hand how important DEx's services are to Down syndrome families. I'm really excited to be part of such a supportive team, and to ensure DEx continues to flourish and adapt to the needs of our community.”
A professional accountant by training, Rajee has worked with numerous businesses providing a variety of assurance and accounting services. He now works at an investment management firm. “Whilst helping DEx via a corporate sponsor on some project work, I had the opportunity to talk to some of the team and a parent of a child that has been coming to DEx. I saw the great value provided and the hugely positive impact; it serves a real purpose. It’s great to be able to add value to such an organisation with my skill set.”
George Barbett has worked in savings and investment management for four years. Prior to this, he studied Music at the University of Southampton. George is passionate about supporting and growing charities, becoming a DEx Trustee at the start of 2021. He looks forward to working with DEx to reach and enrich the lives of as many children and families as possible.
Safeguarding Trustee Lead
Christina Leath is an innovative and passionate leader within safeguarding. Christina is a Registered Nurse, Health Visitor, Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Prescriber. She is a hugely experienced subject matter expert and Head of Safeguarding.
Anasuya Iyer works as the Chief of Staff at Octopus Investments working alongside the CEO to manage strategic initiatives, launch and scale new ideas, develop leadership communications and support day to day operations of the business. She has 10 years of experience across strategy, finance, investments and business development lending her a broad range of skills to help run best-in-class companies.
Nishad Gudhka joined the board in March 2013 and is a DEx Tweens parent. Nishad works in global project management as Associate Director in Life Sciences at Cognizant Technology Solutions where his interpersonal skills enable him to inspire teams to transform businesses creatively.
Lewis Eldridge joined the board as a parent trustee in January 2017. Lewis assists with collaborating with the DEx community and fellow parents to ensure that their views are heard on the board.
DEx runs a lean organisation. All of our workers are freelance and part-time, with a heavy emphasis on highly specialised professionals bringing the expertise of their practice. Meet the team…
Tweens facilitator, smiLE practitioner and Makaton trainer
Sandra works with DEx children from birth to 17 years, promoting communication, language, literacy and numeracy skills and ultimately skills for work, life and independence.
Sandra has worked with and supported children and young people with Down syndrome and their families in the areas of health, communication and education for 15 years. She is devoted to ensuring children and young people with Down syndrome receive the optimum education and support to enable them to reach their full potential into adulthood. She is a qualified paediatric nurse and has an MSc in Language and Communication Impairments in Children. She is a Baby Makaton trainer, an Incredible Years parenting trainer and SmiLE Therapy practitioner, as well as a level 3 counsellor. Sandra works part-time for Barnet Education Authority and has created a multi-disciplinary hub for children with Down syndrome. Sandra provides training on the learning profile, health and behaviour management of children with Down syndrome to health and education professionals and parents.
Before taking an extended career break to raise her son, Georgia worked for a theatrical agency and at the Prison Reform Trust as PA to the directors and office manager. “I love being part of this dedicated and driven team that makes such a difference to the children, young people and families who make up the warm DEx community”.
Clinical lead and clinical specialist Down syndrome Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) and under 10s multi-disciplinary team leader
Beth has a specialism in working with and supporting children with Down syndrome. Beth's specialism began over 15 years ago when working for the NHS where she helped develop Down syndrome-specific clinical pathways that recognised the unique language and learning needs of the children she worked with. As well as providing therapy, Beth also delivers lectures for SLT students and training for families and professionals alike. She and her specialist team use evidence-based practice and the latest research to underpin and guide their work. Beth has worked with Downright Excellent for 11 years and is proud and grateful to work so closely with families to provide the high quality, weekly support that makes such a difference to those we support.
DEx Chief Executive
Ann’s passion and commitment is the driving force behind all that DEx has been able to achieve. Having joined in 2009, she has grown the charity from strength to strength, and watched DEx’s children grow with it. DEx benefits hugely from Ann’s 30+ years’ experience of working in the charity and higher education sectors as project manager, fundraiser, external evaluator, ideas generation and trouble-shooter, working with some of the most disadvantaged groups in the labour market.
"It has been wonderful to be instrumental in the development of DEx as a business and a community. I am passionate about providing top quality integrated learning opportunities to enable our children to maximise their potential. But I could never have done it without the amazing team, wonderful DEx families and awesome children."
Extension skills running throughout the year
Tweens Team led by Sandra
Multi-disciplinary team led by Beth
We are supported by a wonderful team of volunteers who assist our face to face sessions, and many work behind the scenes bringing their skills to help in other ways, eg building the new website, fundraising, etc.
Whilst our face-to-face work in the Sundial Centre is on hold and we have moved our sessions online, we are looking for more help with fundraising to enable DEx to survive. Are you an experienced fundraiser – perhaps in trust or corporate fundraising, fundraising events, individual donors? Or are you full of enthusiasm with some time to donate?