Hammers help out Down's group

A FAMILY who started their own charity for children with Down s syndrome have enlisted the support of West Ham United. The club has agreed to back an Essex Down s Syndrome support group project which will see weekly football training sessions at the Abbey

A FAMILY who started their own charity for children with Down's syndrome have enlisted the support of West Ham United.

The club has agreed to back an Essex Down's Syndrome support group project which will see weekly football training sessions at the Abbey Sports Centre in Axe Street, Barking.

Jon and Nina Hicks, of Becontree Avenue, Dagenham, run the charity together and were inspired to create it by their five-year-old son Joshua, who has the syndrome.

"Having West Ham United get on board is one of the best things ever to happen to the charity," said Jon.


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"It will help develop the kids physically, socially and emotionally. They will be able to play with friends as part of a team.

"Of course it is available for families from all over, not just Barking and Dagenham."

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The football sessions start on Wednesday, November 11 and are open to anyone with Down's syndrome aged five - 19.

Jon and Nina's charity has been going for just over a year now and welcomes children from across Essex and east London.

They hold bi-monthly meetings in Upminster for around 65 families.

Jon said: "We are a little strapped for cash right now because of lack of funding. Nina and I actually pay to rent out halls and organise catering for meetings from our own pockets.

"But it's all worth it because there is no other charity in the area quite like ours that is specifically dedicated to the development and wellbeing of Down's syndrome children."

If you are the parent or carer of someone with Down's syndrome and would like to get involved with the football sessions call Jon on 07863119602 or email: edss@talktalk.net.

Alternatively, you can also contact the West Ham United community sports trust on 0207 473 7720 or by sending an email to: community@westham-united.co.uk.

l The support group is holding a quiz night on Saturday at New Windmill Hall, St Mary's Lane, Upminster, 7pm.

There will also be a cabaret show, a raffle, an auction and a fish and chip supper. Tickets are �10. Email enquiries@edss.org.uk.

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