PM award for Raglan volunteer

By Monmouthshire Beacon/Chepstow Beacon in Local People

PRIME Minister Theresa May has awarded Victoria Hughes, from Raglan, with a Points of Light award for setting up a support group for mothers of children with Down’s Syndrome.

Victoria founded 21 Plus in 2007 to help parents and schools support children with Down’s Syndrome. They have since supported over 100 families by providing speech and language therapy workshops, an annual sport and speech camp, and an annual conference for schools and teachers.

Victoria is the 739th recipient of the Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers; people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.

Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.

In a personal letter to Victoria, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The work of 21 Plus supports over a hundred families to help lead happy lives and you fundamentally improve their children’s ability to fulfil their potential through your speech and language therapy lessons and collaboration with educators.”

Victoria said: “It is great honour to receive this award on behalf of 21 Plus. We have built our group from a small coffee morning to a large network across South Wales and into neighbouring counties in England. This would not have been possible without the support and enthusiasm of the families we work with and the support from the Down’s Syndrome Association, our trustees and our committee.

"We believe passionately in creating opportunities for our children and young people with Down’s Syndrome to participate fully in all aspects of life. We are delighted that the Prime Minister has recognised our group and appreciate the support and encouragement this award offers.”

The charity, which recently reached the finals in the national St David Awards citizenship category, was founded by Katharina Barker from Monmouth, Victoria Hughes from Raglan and Nicky Williams from Abergavenny. The three mothers each had children with Down’s Syndrome and the group aimed to provide help and support to carers, parents and children with Down’s Syndrome.

Although Nicky has since stepped down from the Monmouth-based 21 Plus, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, Victoria and Katharina are determined to expand its reach as much as possible.

The charity organises social events and workshops for carers, parents and children, including a weekly speech therapy workshop. The charity also organises an intensive speech therapy and sport summer camp, which encourages exercise and involves work with expert language therapists.

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