Community Organisation Award

Community Organisation Award for Disability: Sponsor - Avast Foundation

Nominee Profile

Location: Cumbria
Diff-Ability co-produced welcome packs with midwifes, parents and other groups for babies born with Down's syndrome. These are given out to Maternity units Free of charge across the UK, Welcoming new parents with a suitcase full of love on their new journey.

Diff-Ability Create events and opportunities for people with disabilities, Learning disabilities, Autism and neurodiversity to engage in with their families and friends. Open mic nights, Quizes, Fim nights, Art classes, Just for fun Makaton choir. These events are often hosted by people with Down's syndrome, who come up with ideas and work together to tell us what else they would like us to do in the future.

We also like to work in collaboration with other groups & at present Co-Host a mental health support group with the Happy Mums foundation. Are part of the Mencap Treat me right campaign, on the LeDer Learning from listening group. Hosted Engage Britain community conversations. Our most recent collaborations are with Bright Stars, speaking to School children about setting up their own social enterprise & supporting them to do so, we will also be Co-Hosting a Peer support group for Autistic parents in collaboration with AuPeer in the near future.

Based in the Eden district of Cumbria, our online events have been attended by people from across the globe and at times we have been a platform for people with Down's syndrome to have their voice heard. For example, when Amazon were allowing people to sell Hatewear on their platform 40+ disability groups signed our open letter asking Amazon to #HearOurVoice and #RaiseYourStandards, with thousands of people sharing the message across social media.

We were set up after Maximus was born with Down's syndrome & after an even longer struggle to find the right support for our Autistic teenager. A Volunteer led organisation, we would love to have the funds to employ people with Down's syndrome and other disabilities to lead the way and drive us forward.