Backed by Line of Duty star Tommy Jessop and campaigner Heidi Crowter, last week’s launch of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Down syndrome was initiated by the combined efforts of Down syndrome advocacy groups and MPs. As members of the Down syndrome community, Jessop and Crowter were excited to welcome the new APPG and hope that it will help further awareness and promote the health and well-being of all people with Down syndrome.
In a recent interview, Jessop stated:
“I hope this will raise awareness of people living with Down syndrome and who we really are so that we really do have a voice to speak up for ourselves and other people… I want to see people with Down Syndrome treated equally with others before and after they are born. We are the only group of people in the UK where people try to end our lives before we are born just because we have Down syndrome. This is not fair. It scars our lives and causes mental health problems.”
Crowter similarly shared:
“We hope that the members of the All-Party Group can use their powers and their energy to help make positive change for people like me and my husband James, who has Down syndrome.”
The APPG was started in order to address issues currently faced by the Down syndrome community, and to “campaign for equal access and support in all areas of life and to highlight the innate worth of people with Down syndrome and the contribution they make.” Advocacy groups and MPs backing the APPG have faith that with perseverance, they will be able to accomplish these goals. When asked to comment on the launch, Nicola Enoch from the Down Syndrome Policy Group said:
“We are striving to ensure that people with Down syndrome will have the opportunity to have their voices heard at Parliament. For too long their views have not been canvassed or heard; the APPG will provide a public platform for people with Down Syndrome to speak.”