The big day had finally come and the rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the many people who attended for the launch of the Laois Downs Syndrome headquarters last Saturday, June 23 in Gortnanoir housing estate, Abbeyleix.
Michael Gorman, Laois Downs Dyndrome chairman, welcomed families, social workers and members of the charity with their families to the event thanking them for joining in the celebration of the new centre. Among the guests were Clare Leonard (President of Down Syndrome Ireland) and Pat Clarke (CEO of Down syndrome Ireland), TDs Séan Fleming and Charles Flanagan and GAA President Liam O’Neill
The facilities will be a great advantage to the members and their families involved with the charity. The state-of-the-art hq, which is leased from Respond Ireland include a fully equipped kitchen, three small rooms, an enclosed space and a new gym for exercising.
“We have finally somewhere we can call our own. We will be able to run Saturday clubs for 12-year-olds and monthly discos, which we hope will help adults and children to integrate as well as occupational therapies” said Mr Gorman.
Pat Clarke (CEO of Downs Syndrome Ireland) congratulated the Laois Charity for performing well for Down Syndrome Ireland. He noted that battles Down Syndrome Ireland have fought for ten years are still under sustained attack with cuts to services. Liam O’Neill, President of the GAA also commented on how the GAA have the same goals as Down Syndrome Ireland, which focus on integration and acceptance.
The charity will run its annual church gate collection from the beginning of August. They also hope with their new headquarters to be able to provide extra tuition to members with their literacy skills.