Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association wins £100,000 to spend on support work in schools

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A CHARITY dedicated to making the most of educational and social opportunities for young people with Down Syndrome has won £100,000 to spend on its vital work in schools.

The cash has been given to the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association by Persimmon Homes as part of its £1m Building Futures campaign.

Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association founder Rachael Ross MBE, centre, with representatives from Persimmon Homes after the charity won 100,000 in the developer's Building Futures campaign.

Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association founder Rachael Ross MBE, centre, with representatives from Persimmon Homes after the charity won 100,000 in the developer's Building Futures campaign.

Rachael Ross, the charity’s founder, said it will go toward supporting children and educational professionals alike, across more than 100 schools.

This help includes adjustments to the curriculum to match children's needs, bespoke training for teachers and support with social inclusion.

It begins at nursery age and continues through to higher education.

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‘It’s a very significant donation which will make a real and positive impact to our work at the charity and the specialist services we are able to provide for our children,’ said Mrs Ross. 

‘As well as raising vital funds, the initiative also helped raise the profile of our charity and spread awareness to a much wider audience.

‘We can’t thank Persimmon Homes enough for such a fantastic opportunity, and for their support along the way.' 

To clinch the cash Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association was named the best UK education charity at a Persimmon Homes gala dinner. 

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It was one of just three good causes to take home a £100,000 prize and was picked through a vote that featured more than 4,000 charities.

Mrs Ross said the money 'couldn't have come at a better time’, as the association looks to raise £600,000 to fund its new Portsmouth premises.

So far almost £47,000 has been collected for the effort, which would see the association's new home refurbished and made ready to open. 

‘[This money] helps to relieve the pressure for fundraising and means we can divert more energy towards it,' said Mrs Ross. 

Park Community School, in Leigh Park, Havant, also won £5,000 in the campaign. A BMX club in Andover took home £20,000. 

Matt Paine, managing director of the south coast arm of Persimmon Homes, said: ‘’We have been overwhelmed by both the response to the competition, and the hard work and dedication of those involved within all the groups and we are delighted that two charities from our region were big winners.' 

To donate to Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association’s fundraiser for its new building, click here