A MUM from Seaford who founded a charity to bring together families who have children with Downs Syndrome and special needs has been shortlisted for the first ever BBC Sussex Community Heroes Awards.
Senay Smallwood has beaten off tough competition to make it through to the final round and will find out if she has come up trumps next Thursday (December 15).
The 44-year-old started the project – Seaford Downs Syndrome and Special Needs Support Group (SDSSNSG) – after her son Finn was born with Downs Syndrome.
It was initially started as a monthly playgroup three years ago but has now grown to provide all sorts of vital therapies and support. A couple of years after being set up, it gained charity status.
The mum-of-two, who was nominated for the Volunteer Award, manages this all year round as well as looking after her children and working as a driving instructor. She said, “I feel absolutely thrilled at being nominated and in shock really. It’s wonderful for the charity to have been put forward.”
Also on the list of nominations are two supporters of SDSSNSG who have been put forward for the Sports Award.
Matt Eade and Scott Morgan have been keeping busy completing a million- metre swim to raise funds for the charity and are set to complete the challenge next Tuesday (December 13).
The pair have been swimming on average 127 lengths a day and when they have been ill the duo have been doubling up their daily distance to make up the time lost.
Sen sang their praises, adding, “They are our heroes, what they have done is amazing.
“We’re so thrilled at their achievement and that they did it for the charity.”
There are eight categories in the BBC Sussex Community Heroes Awards and a special ceremony will take place in Crawley next Thursday where the winners will be announced.
Managing editor of BBC Sussex Nicci Holliday said, “We were absolutely delighted with the response to our first ever awards and the quality of entries made for a very tough judging process.
“Pretty much any of the nominees could have made it onto the shortlist, and they were all inspiring stories.”
The awards are a joint initiative with BBC Surrey.