Take part in HB Ice Cream Sunday tomorrow – in support of Down Syndrome Ireland 1 month ago

Take part in HB Ice Cream Sunday tomorrow – in support of Down Syndrome Ireland

A new take on a much-loved fundraiser.

For the past 19 years, HB has partnered with Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI) for the campaign which has seen thousands across Ireland host ice cream parties at home, in their offices and in schools, raising over €3.7 million, making a life-changing difference to those with Down syndrome as well as their families.

This year’s fundraiser is a new twist on a what has become a yearly tradition for so many.

Taking place tomorrow, September 20th, HB's very first Ice Cream Sunday will support Down Syndrome Ireland’s See & Learn programme, a language development programme to help young children with Down syndrome who have been severely affected by lack of educational resources during Covid-19.

Difficulties in communicating present obstacles in daily life and can be a major source of frustration. See and Learn is an international programme designed to meet the specific learning needs of children with Down syndrome, providing support to improve their speech, language, reading and numeracy skills. It was made available by DSI in 2019 for parents, teachers and those looking after children with Down syndrome as a result of the funds raised through the partnership with HB.

To take part this year, and support Down Syndrome Ireland, HB is calling on the nation to grab one of their classic ice cream treats, with €0.10 from every multipack pack purchased going to DSI’s See and Learn programme.

Actor Mark Smith will be joining the fun this HB Ice Cream Sunday and is encouraging vital donations to the programme. Mark, who has Down syndrome, is showing his support in order to help children with Down syndrome receive the educational resources they need.

Talking about the importance of programmes like See and Learn, Mark Smith said “I am proof of how important it is to have this early help. I was helped greatly when I started school and it has led me to become an actor - my dream job.  By joining in on the fun on the 20th September, you could be helping other kids to reach their full potential."

Olive Buckeridge, Early Years Specialist with Down Syndrome Ireland has been leading the See and Learn programme.

In September of 2019 we began a national rollout of the See and Learn programme and the response from parents and teachers was fantastic. We held 25 seminars across Ireland, meeting over 1,600 people. See and Learn is a visually focused programme which works extremely well to help children with Down syndrome to develop their communication skills. It has already had such a positive impact on the children and their families. The programme works so well with teachers and parents collectively and really is a shared venture. Consistency and repetition for children with Down syndrome is key and the See and Learn programme facilitates this.”

Due to the pandemic, most of the children on the See and Learn programme have seen their supports majorly curtailed, and funding for this key service has been severely impacted.

“COVID-19 has been very difficult for children with Down syndrome as they haven’t been able to visit their speech and language therapists or receive one to one support," explains Buckeridge.

"The See and Learn programme has been instrumental in helping parents to continue their child’s progression during COVID-19. We are continuing to provide support and have been speaking with parents daily through Zoom. Our next step is to roll out phase two of the programme this Autumn, and funds raised from the new HB Ice Cream Sunday will enable teachers and parents to be supported as they implement this programme.”

To join in on DSI’s HB Ice Cream Sunday on 20th September, simply purchase your favourite HB multipack from your local participating supermarket or shop, and €0.10 will go directly to funding the See and Learn programme.

People are also encouraged to share photos of them enjoying their ice creams on social media using #HBIceCreamSunday.

You can also support DSI’s See and Learn programme by making a donation at www.downsyndrome.ie/donate/