“When all of us, and not only a few of us, have more opportunities at school, at work and in our communities, then we’ll truly have reasons to celebrate.
LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND.”
Ruben Reuter, star of CBBC’s The Dumping Ground and the moving documentary My Life: The Real Dumping Ground joined an international cast and a crew to create a powerful and beautiful film to mark World Down Syndrome Day (21 March).
Ruben has been a regular cast member on The Dumping Ground for the past four years, playing Finn Mclaine. The Dumping Ground, part of the Tracey Beaker legacy, tells the stories and adventures of a number of children and young people who happen to live in a care home. The filming takes place in the North East and Ruben spends five months of the year working and living away, returning home to Huddersfield for weekends. Last month an episode of the series “Heroes” which features Ruben’s character Finn, won Best Drama Award at the RTS North East & Borders Awards.
Ruben also trains with Down Syndrome Swimming GB and swims at competitions across the country. When he is home Ruben dances with Northern Ballet’s Ability and works part time in the local Leisure Centre.
Ruben was thrilled to be involved in the CoorDown campaign: “It was a great opportunity for me…I loved meeting the rest of the cast and the crew. I love the film because the message is very strong and really important.”
Going to your local school, playing sport, going out with friends, having a job and living independently as an adult – these aspects of life may appear ordinary to most people, and represent things most of us take for granted. But while these things have also become a reality for more and more people with Down syndrome, too many are still denied the fundamental opportunities to participate in and enjoy life.
Starting from education, where too many students are denied the right to attend their local school with appropriate support – then denied assistance and opportunity of employment in regular workplaces due to inadequate governmental policy and discrimination by employers – and finally denied the right to participate in their communities and live independently as adults in relationships and housing of their choosing due to inadequate support, societal prejudice and their devaluation as individuals.
The campaign Reasons To Celebrate has been developed in partnership with the agencies FCB Mexico and SMALL New York. The film was directed by the Hungarian director Rudolf Péter Kiss and produced by Switzerland’s GOSH* in Budapest, with the participation of actors from four different countries including Ruben from the United Kingdom, Albania, Switzerland and Italy.
The Down’s Syndrome Association supported the CoorDown team in developing this year’s campaign, helping them identify possible actors and by making a contribution to the cost of production, and we are delighted by the end result. Carol Boys, Chief Executive, said:
“Well done to everyone involved in this stunning campaign that makes a very important point…Everyone must be given the chance to live a fulfilling life, included on a full and equal basis with others, in all aspects of society. Significant progress has been made over the years, but more needs to be achieved.”
Down Syndrome International, Down Syndrome Australia, Down Syndrome Albania Foundation and the Swiss associations Art21 Association Romande Trisomie 21 and Progetto Avventuno also leant their support to the campaign.