Charity: Up on Downs

PUBLISHED: 11:46 17 December 2018

Up on Downs gives support to those with the syndrome and their whole family

Up on Downs gives support to those with the syndrome and their whole family


Helping the families of Hertfordshire children of all ages with Down’s syndrome with support, community, information and fun

Up on Downs is a parent-run charity that supports families of children with Down’s syndrome. The organisation helps other parents by creating opportunities for families to socialise and learn together and share information. It supports children by arranging activities and by working with other agencies to increase awareness of Down’s syndrome and improve the opportunities available to people with the condition.

Parents and professional members from across Hertfordshire and adjoining towns are welcome. Assistance includes one-to-one support for new parents, family meetings with children’s activities and workshops and education days. An early development group and specialised speech therapy classes are also offered and there is a regular newsletter and events listings.

‘The most important thing for a child with Down’s syndrome is that those who care for them are supported, well-informed, happy and able to give them opportunities to develop,’ said Up on Downs development manager and new parent contact Sande Nuttall. ‘That’s why we see ourselves as a family support unit rather than a disabled children’s club, and put the emphasis on bringing families together for enjoyment as well as offering therapies and training.’

Up on Downs holds a variety of events throughout the year. Many are social events such as farm trips and parties for younger children, and bowling or dancing for teenagers. The charity believes it is important that these include the whole family around the person with Down’s syndrome, as their most important support system.

The personalised speech therapy project, run for the past nine years, offers around 25 children regular sessions each year. These are delivered by three special education practitioners with additional training in speech therapy. They are supported by a speech and language therapist with additional training for Down’s syndrome.

There are different ways to get in contact with the group, and staff can deal with a wide range of enquiries from members. Up on Downs holds various meetings and events, and parents can discuss any concerns with staff face to face. If more information is needed, then staff will follow up either by phone or email. The main email address is checked regularly, despite having limited office hours. Up on Downs also has a Facebook page, where members can discuss ideas, issues and other information.

For more on Up on Downs, contact Sande Nuttall at or call 01462 630459.

This article is by North Herts Centre for Voluntary Services. There are seven CVS in the county offering hundreds of volunteering opportunities. Visit for details.

Latest from the Hertfordshire Life