Media Release

05 Apr 2024

Down Syndrome NSW Successful in National Grant to Enhance Social and Community Participation

As part of a recent open competitive tender process, Down Syndrome 
NSW has been named a successful recipient of the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) Social and Community Participation Grant from the Australian Government Department of Social Services. 
As the recognised and trusted peak body for people with Down syndrome and their families in NSW for over 40 years and the only Down syndrome organisation to be successful in this funding, Down  Syndrome NSW proudly takes a whole of person and whole of life approach, providing information, services, and advocacy at every 

This funding enables Down Syndrome NSW to progress priorities to meet need, as articulated by its members. Listening to members is foundational to the organisation's vision and mission - through 
biannual member surveys, regular consultations and workshops, a clear priority is the delivery of tailored, targeted, and expert information and support that is local. 

This funding will see the establishment of a sustainable community
based hub, which will house expertly designed resources, co designed and co-facilitated by people with lived experience of disability, and support to better understand and meet the needs of 
people with Down syndrome and their families. Down Syndrome CEO, Emily Caska celebrated the announcement, stating "This achievement showcases the quality and innovation of our small but mighty organisation. With people with Down syndrome and families at the centre, our multifaceted Community Champions for Inclusion program allows us to meet unmet need at the local level - a longstanding goal of ours." 
The innovative program will see the establishment sustainable community-based hubs through Regional Parent and Peers Support Networks and a Partner UP! Program, through which local communities, businesses, governments, sporting clubs can access expertly designed resources, online assets, training modules, capacity building, organisational inclusion audit guidance - all co designed and co-facilitated by people with lived experience of disability to better understand and meet the needs of people with Down syndrome and their families. CEO Emily Caska noted, "Central to this program is the employment of people with Down syndrome, parents and siblings as local community champions. With us, not for us."  

The Community Champions for Inclusion program will also create a public celebration register of local businesses, organisations and clubs who are champions for Down syndrome and intellectual disability. 

The ILC Social and Community Participation Program aims to increase social and community participation for people with disability. This is done by building the capacity of people with disability to participate in their community and creating more inclusive services and communities. The Social and Community Participation stream of ILC focuses on activities that support people with disability, their families and carers to participate, contribute and benefit from mainstream 
engagement and inclusion.

Emily Caska
Chief Executive Officer