A SUPPORT group for families with a Down’s Syndrome child held a special tea party to celebrate Down Syndrome World Awareness Week.

Jo Phillpot, whose five-year-old daughter Georgia has the genetic disorder, founded Downs in Dorset after being told there were no parent support groups for families in the area.

“I phoned the Down’s Syndrome Association and they said there wasn’t anything down here. They asked me if I could look at setting something up which I did,” she explained.

Four years later the group has continued to provide help and advice to families across Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch.

“We are a group of mums and dads who meet on the first Friday of each month at the Somerford Children’s Centre,” Mrs Phillpot explained.

“It gives everyone a chance to chat, particularly new mums. If somebody has a problem we can give advice, share knowledge and ideas.”

She added: “We are all in the same boat and we all understand it’s hard.”

After her own daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of 18 months, Mrs Phillpot was told children with the condition are more likely to develop other illnesses and wants other families in the same situation to know the group is there to help.

She said: “She came through in the end. Children with Down’s Syndrome are more susceptible to leukaemia and some cancers.

"Sooner or later there is going to be someone else in the group who goes through the same thing. When you have been through those experiences you understand what it’s like.”

The mother of two, who also carries out home visits and hospital visits to support families with a down’s syndrome child, is urging anyone who would like help to get in touch.

“We are trying to make people aware that we are here,” she said.

“Nobody can understand all the emotions of what it’s like to be told you have a Down’s Syndrome child unless you have been there yourself.”

To find out more about the group search for Downs in Dorset on Facebook or call Jo on 07772732842.