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Galway Team Raise Money for Voices for Down Syndrome Initiative

News 28 November 2022

Ruta Graham, an Employment Advisor in our Galway office, began the fundraising project Lots of Socks in 2019 to raise money for the parent-led organisation Voices for Down Syndrome who assist her son with speech and language therapy.

“The project Lots of Socks started when my mum knitted 50 pairs of little socks for another project for Down Syndrome in my hometown, Lithuania. I took the idea from them and ran our first street collection in 2019 in Galway.”

Since then, the little woollen socks people pin to their lapels have captured people’s imaginations in the Galway area. Last year, Ruta raised €1300 and this year, with help from her Seetec colleagues who sold the Little Socks at local supermarkets as well as packaging the lapel pins, Ruta is hoping to raise as much despite this year’s cost of living crisis.

“My team have all met my son Adam and they have seen my fight to get him the services and therapies he needs. Voices for Down Syndrome is unique. All the parents involved fundraise for the organisation and that money goes solely to employ the Speech and Language Therapists who work with our children.”

It’s not only her colleagues who volunteered their time. Ruta’s callout on social media for more people to knit Little Socks was met with a huge response. Additionally, people can purchase these handcrafted pins from local Galway boutiques and businesses all throughout the year and not just in October which is Down Syndrome Awareness month.

Voices for Down Syndrome Galway was established in 2005 by a group of parents of children with Down Syndrome. One in every 335 children born in Galway has Down Syndrome. Everyone with this condition suffers delayed development of speech and difficulty in articulation. Speech and language therapy, especially in childhood years, is critical to the development of adequate language skills.

The project is parent run by a small committee of volunteer parents and employs a Project Co-Ordinator and three Speech and Language Therapists with the generous help of supporters and families. The running costs of the project are raised through a mixture of fundraising events, charitable donations and corporate partnerships. Speech and language therapy is provided free of charge, but members are encouraged to donate annually towards the project and assist with fundraising initiatives.

“I love the way they work. Voices for Down Syndrome link in with schools and they also deliver therapy online which happens to really suit Adam, he works very well over Zoom. During the pandemic public health restrictions, it meant so much to me that he was able to get online speech therapy every other week when other services were unable to run.”

Ruta’s fundraising efforts for this organisation have also been bolstered by a €250 donation from Seetec’s Community Investment Fund (CIF). In 2018 we launched our CIF with the aim to support our colleagues’ charitable endeavours and volunteering commitments.