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Recognising the role activity plays on World Down’s Syndrome Day

This year World Down’s Syndrome Day (WDSD), 21 March, falls on Saturday- a perfect day for many to get active. It marks the 10th anniversary of the Day and each year the voice of people with Down's Syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder. The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) is encouraging those in sport and physical activity to provide more opportunities for those with Down's Syndrome and ensure all disabled people can be active for life.

Down Syndrome International (DSI) encourages people all over the world to help raise awareness and how people with Down's Syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities. They are sharing WDSD World Events on their dedicated WDSD website in a single global meeting place.

For WDSD 2015, DSI will focus on: ‘My Opportunities, My Choices’ – Enjoying Full and Equal Rights and the Role of Families.

You can download their  'My Opportunites, My Choices' Information Leaflet.

Around one in every 1000 babies born in the UK will have Down’s Syndrome. It is caused by chance at conception. Roughly 40,000 people in Britain have the condition.

Everyone with Down’s syndrome has some degree of learning disability. From research, EFDS knows that only one in five disabled people are regularly active, but seven in 10 would like to play do more physical activity or sport.

The Day follows an active Down’s Awareness Week, as organised by the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA). The Week's theme this year was ‘Get Active and Get Involved’, which includes taking part in sport or another form of exercise.

There are some excellent personal stories on the charity’s website, including Lydia’s love of horse riding and visiting the gym and Liverpool-supporting Lolo, who loves playing football.

Alongside the awareness week, DSActive is a very successful and ongoing sports project. It is the only bespoke football and tennis programme for people with Down’s in the UK.

DSActive now has 40 football and tennis teams training on a weekly basis across England and Wales.

Joining forces with the Tennis Foundation in 2010, bespoke tennis sessions now take place across the country. And in 2013, DSActive created a bespoke programme targeted at solely adults. The 18+ Programme was made possible thanks to a grant from Sport England.

DSActive Football Festival 2014

In terms of DSActive and football, the charity has formed partnerships with over 30 professional clubs – Chelsea, Sunderland, QPR, West Brom, Everton and so on – and now training sessions, matches, national festivals, stadium tours and pitch-side demonstrations are all on offer on a regular basis.

And the 18+ Programme that works so well in tennis is also doing well when it comes to football. Great news, as DSA have found the adult group the hardest to engage.

This year, in January Sport England launched the This Girl Can campaign to celebrate active women everywhere. One of the stars of This Girl Can, Ruby, is a keen swimmer. Ruby has Down’s syndrome.

Watch Ruby on This Girl Can

There are some excellent resources in the DSA website that relate to fitness and wellbeing, including factsheets on everything from weight management to school activities, disability discrimination information to local events.

EFDS’s vision is that disabled people are active for life. With so many ways for people with Down’s to get active, why not recognise the Day through sport and physical activity opportunities?

If you are a person with Down’s syndrome or have a child aged five upwards and would like to get involved, visit the DSActive website for more information.