Local Down's Syndrome charities supported by Swindon Amazon Team

By Jessica Durston - 8 August 2022

CharityBusiness
  • Sam Russell-Pierce holding the Queen's Baton

    Sam Russell-Pierce holding the Queen's Baton

The Amazon fulfilment centre in Swindon has made donations totalling £1,000 to two charities supporting people living with Down’s syndrome in the town.

The two charities the Swindon Amazon team have chosen to support are Uplands Enterprise Trust (UET) and Swindon Down's Syndrome Group. 

Uplands Enterprise Trust is a Swindon-based charity that helps young people with additional needs, led by a board of voluntary trustees and run by enthusiastic, skilled, and creative staff.  

UET provides Skills for Life and Skills for Work programmes for adults 18 and over, alongside Short Breaks Respite for 5–17-year-olds based at Shaw Farm, which aims to help children and young people prepare for their future. 

Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group is a volunteer-led charity supporting people with Down’s syndrome and their families in Swindon, Chippenham, Devizes and the surrounding area. The charity is available to support families from the moment a child is born through to adulthood and beyond. 

David Tindal, General Manager at Amazon in Swindon, said: “We’re pleased to have the opportunity to get involved with Sam’s challenge. Both Uplands Enterprise Trust and Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group are a huge support to our community, and we hope our donation lends the staff and volunteers at both charities a helping hand.” 

The donations from Amazon were made after the team received a letter from a member of the Swindon community, Sam Russell-Pierce, who is living with Down’s syndrome and raising awareness. 

The charities chosen are two that Sam is actively supported by and has therefore chosen to fundraise for, and Amazon has made the donations in his name to support his efforts. 

Sam’s proud mum Leslye said that when Sam was born, the doctor told her she had a healthy baby boy and they should both ‘live their lives.’ Sam has done that ever since.   

In celebration of Sam’s 30th birthday this year, he began ‘Sam’s 21 Challenges’, consisting of a range sporting, adventure and motivational (S-A-M) activities. The idea behind Sam’s challenge was to show that a life with Down’s syndrome can still be a life without limits. 

At the request of Sam and Leslye, the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group will use the £500 donation from Amazon towards family fun projects, including the annual Christmas party held for all members.

The event is completely free to attend, and each child and their siblings will receive a gift from Father Christmas. This is said to be one of the charity’s most attended events. 

Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group say they like to arrange activities that include the whole family: parents, carers, grandparents and siblings, as this is a chance for everyone to make new friends, find support and share information.

Leslye Russell-Pierce, Sam’s mum, added: “Sam is a great young man and I’m very proud of his achievements. With this challenge, we wanted to change people’s perceptions about living with Down’s syndrome, while raising much needed funds for charities close to Sam’s heart. Thanks to the team at Amazon for supporting Sam.” 

Sam has raised over £6,500 through his challenge, and because of this, was recently selected to receive a Pride of Swindon award. Sam was also chosen to be an ambassador for the Commonwealth Games and took part in the Queen’s Baton Relay team. 

Kim West, Chair of the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group, added: “Thank you, David and team, for this donation. We work to ensure people with Down’s syndrome have the same opportunities as everyone else. Sam is a wonderful example of this. We appreciate the support.” 

Susan Jordan, Skills for Work Lead at Uplands Enterprise Trust, said: “Sam is a fantastic member of our team here at Skills Forever. We are so proud of the amazing accomplishment Sam has carried out with his 21 challenges.

"The money Sam has raised has enabled us to purchase some much-needed IT equipment and to buy a promotional fundraising banner. Thank you to Sam and the Swindon Amazon team.” 

The donations to Uplands Enterprise Trust and Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group were made as part of Amazon’s programme to support the communities in and around its operating locations across the UK. 

Amazon is providing disadvantaged students with online STEM courses, as well as teaming up with charity partner Magic Breakfast, and delivering more than five million healthy breakfasts to families in England.

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