Cork's Down Syndrome Centre wins community spirit award

The Forge Hill facility, which was established in 2014, provides vital intervention services to young children with Down syndrome and their families
Cork's Down Syndrome Centre wins community spirit award

Gerald McCarthy (Awards & Gifts) presenting Lisa Donovan: Manager, Down Syndrome Centre, Forge House, Cork with the Community Spirit Award. Pictured with Eoghan Murphy: General Manager, Cork International Hotel, alongside Nicola Radley: Senior Executive Officer, Cork County Council, next to Christina Elliott & her daughter Kerrie & Katie Desmond (wife of Cian Desmond, Chairperson of the Board of Management) with her children Luke, Adam & Freya Desmond. Photo Siobhán Russell

The Down Syndrome Centre Cork has been announced as the latest winner of the Cork International Hotel Community Spirit Award.

The Forge Hill facility, which was established in 2014, provides vital intervention services to young children with Down syndrome and their families.

Each year in Ireland, approximately 110 babies are born with Down syndrome, a lifelong condition which increases the risk of certain health issues.

The Down Syndrome Centre Cork relies entirely on fundraising to deliver occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, early intervention programmes as well as parent and baby classes. It also runs events for siblings and networking events for parents.

In June, more than 300 people ran and walked 21km from Haulbowline to Pairc Úi Chaoimh to raise funds for the charity. Down syndrome occurs when there is an extra copy of chromosome 21 which is the reason why the half marathon distance was chosen.

General Manager of the Cork International Hotel, Eoghan Murphy, said: “The Down Syndrome Centre Cork is an incredible charity that was set up by a group of parents.

“They have created a home-from-home atmosphere where families feel relaxed and the children can thrive. It is so important to have a welcoming community where families can share their experiences and support each other.

“The charity also provides invaluable early intervention programmes with growing numbers of families needing these services. However, the centre relies entirely on donations and fundraising to be able to do so.


“The fact that it is so successful is a testament to the centre, the families and their supporters and their fundraising efforts over the last eight years. They are very worthy winners of this Community Spirit Award.” Among the services provided by the Down Syndrome Centre Cork is the Special Kids Intervention Programme (SKIP) for children aged up to five years old. It is play-based and targets all areas of a child’s development including speech and language, fine motor skills and social skills and aims to prepare a child with Down Syndrome to go to mainstream school at the end of the programme.

The judging panel for the Community Spirit Awards are made up of a mixture of representatives from the public and private sector within the community, including Group Director of Operations at Trigon Hotels Carmel Lonergan, Senior Executive Officer of Municipal District Operations & Rural Development at Cork County Council Nicola Radley, Bank of Ireland Manager of Carrigaline and Douglas · Aisling Killilea and sponsors Carrigdhoun Newspaper’s Vincent O'Donovan.

Nominations are now open for next month's awards at: .

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