From the DSA – July 2019

by Carol Boys, Chief Executive


2019 is passing very quickly and as we are between issues of The Journal we thought we’d gather together some news that might not have yet reached you yet.

DSActive: new sports and new tools to help people with Down’s syndrome lead active and healthy lives

DSActive has been providing opportunities for people with Down’s syndrome to be active and healthy since 2006. Football and tennis sessions were joined by athletics sessions last year.

Since then, DSActive sessions in cricket, sailing, walking and rugby have been introduced. The team are also training more coaches from the governing bodies of other sports and activities in order to make them more accessible for everyone, even when a specific DSActive session isn’t available. Check out the DSActive website for all the details.

The new nutrition app from the DSActive team is now live. Health Swap is a free tool – to be used on mobiles and tablets – that encourages healthy food choices and getting active. You can download the app here and keep an eye on the DSActive website for more news.

Emma’s Diary

Emma’s Diary is a parenting club that provides information, freebies, vouchers, offers, news and peer-to-peer support for expectant and new parents via hard copy publications, apps, social media and a website.

In early July 2018, the DSA became aware of seriously inappropriate and outdated language in Emma’s Diary through our monitoring of online content about prenatal support for pregnant women. We immediately contacted the Press Office at Emma’s Diary with a detailed set of suggested amendments to the text.

Having received no response, we decided to enlist the support of Public Health England.

I am delighted to say that our suggestions in their entirety have been taken on board by Emma’s Diary and the text has now been amended.

WorkFit® celebrates it’s thousandth candidate registration

Since 2011, over 1,000 people who have Down’s syndrome have registered with our WorkFit programme, with candidate registrations last year exceeding 150.

We are very proud of the success of WorkFit, with candidates succeeding across an expanding range of industry sectors. It is clear that people’s aspirations have been raised, with more family members now seeing permanent, paid work as a realistic and sustainable outcome for their relative who has Down’s syndrome.

“WorkFit is really good. I feel good. I feel proud. I do love working there. My WorkFit officer is fantastic!” (WorkFit Candidate, North West)

“I can’t praise WorkFit enough! I was ‘blown away’ by all the different placements and individuals being given an opportunity.” (Parent, North West)

New All-Party Parliamentary Group on Adult Social Care

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Adult Social Care began work in April this year. Last week Chris Watson, our Adult Services Specialist Adviser, attended the launch of the APPG’s first report and will be attending future meetings of the group on our behalf.

Our It’s My Life campaign continues and we’ll be raising the findings of the report with the group as well as other issues that our members tell us about.

In development: training for health, social care and allied professions

Earlier in the year we responded to the Department of Health and Social Care’s consultation on mandatory learning disability training for health and care professionals. Thanks to our members’ contributions we were able to include several powerful case studies.

We are now preparing a package of specific health awareness training for health, social care and allied professions to launch in the autumn.