National award for Limerick Down Syndrome chairperson

Network Ireland award winner Ellen Tuffy.

DOWN Syndrome Limerick Chairperson Ellen Tuffy  was one of the major winners at Network Ireland Businesswomen of the Year awards in Galway on Friday night.

A tireless advocate for the rights of people with Down Syndrome, Ellen was presented with the ‘Power Within Champion’ award by broadcaster Mary Kennedy who paid tribute to her efforts to ensure  their full inclusion in society.

350 applicants were nominated for this year’s awards through the 14 Network Ireland regional branches. Local selection events in recent months resulted in the selection of 71 finalists for eight national awards.

Ellen has over 20 years of experience in healthcare and has spent the last three years working voluntarily for the charity. She was winner of the Network Limerick ‘Power Within Champion’ award last May which resulted in her qualification for the Network Ireland award.

An associated branch of Down Syndrome Ireland, Down Syndrome Limerick has been operating from its current location in Castletroy since 2008.

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Governance, fundraising and management of the centre is entirely voluntary.  Fundraising goes towards the provision of services to families and maintenance of the facility.  Its management committee, fundraising committees and club supervisors all are volunteers.

The branch has two speech and language therapists and an occupational therapist providing much needed therapies to its members. They also provide a two year adult literacy course to adults with Down syndrome and work with local employers to secure work placements and employment opportunities for its members.

Support is also provided to schools for children with Down syndrome and pre-school, primary and secondary level. The branch also provides Lámh and Numicon training to teachers and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs).