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Education….every child’s birthright!

Our Education Leadership Team are at the heart of ECCDS. All of them are qualified teachers and between them they have over 50 years of experience in education. ECCDS was founded by Maggie Hart in Darlington, and Helen Taylor in Northumberland. Both Helen and Maggie are parents to children with DS and children without DS which builds trust of other families and enhances their practice.

Tommee Tippee

We are delighted to be working with ECCDS as part of our commitment to support activities in the local communities in which we operate, with a particular focus on projects for babies and children. Tommee Tippee is dedicated to helping the education centre support the development of children with Down syndrome, as well as raising awareness. The business has and will continue to support the work of the charity through volunteering, skills sharing, events and product donations.

Mandy and Lucy

I know if I'd never attended group that day, through pure ignorance, my life would have taken a totally different

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Rebecca and Ellie

Ellie is an 11 year old girl who loves swimming, dancing, music, cooking and football

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Sharon and Jakey

The Group is a brilliant place for Jakey and us to learn, develop and grow.

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Margaret and Max

By attending group, we get a better understanding of Max’s needs

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Sue and Prentice

My journey with the Education Centre for Children with Down Syndrome started shortly after the birth of my son,                        Prentice.

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Lesley Grieve

I would like to take this opportunity in sharing with you all the wonderful engaging and successful work that ECCDS                   Hexham group and the Sure Start Children’s Centre Hexham deliver on a weekly basis.

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Danny and Ros Morland

We love our Friday mornings with the ECCDS. The volunteers are excellent and work tirelessly to help our kids develop and all with a genuine affection for them.

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Tracy and Grace

When Grace was born with Down Syndrome we didn't know what to do. We didn't know much about the condition and what effect it would have on her and our lives...

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Anthony, Gemma and Isabella

Friday mornings with the ECCDS are the highlight of Isabella's week, as well as ours!

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Beckie Hope

I began working for the Down syndrome group in 2005 after completing my undergraduate Psychology degree. I started as a volunteer on a Saturday morning whilst working within the sensory loss team at Darlington borough council.

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Meet The Team

The Staff

Chief Executive Officer -       

Education Leadership Team -


Business Manager -  

Finance Officer -  

Finance and Business Admin Apprentice -      

Group Leaders -









Speech and Language Therapist -

Health and Safety Consultant-

Group Assistants -


The Trustees

Dame Dela Smith - Vice-Chair

Sarah Clayton

Kal Guram

Danny Morland

Susan Robinson

Janet Beauman

Maggie Hart

Helen Taylor

Alison Wishart

Ralph Ingram

Abbie Griffiths

Sue Belton

Beckie Hope

Jane Howell

Jan Littlejohn

Ben Jones

Jo Longstaff

Lindsay McCulloch

Nicola Naisbett

Anne Thickness

Monica Bray

Dave Gormley

Victoria Bowman

Claire Brookbanks

Emma Watson

Penny Watson

Helen’s Story

Having taught about the genetics of Down syndrome for ten years as a secondary school Biology teacher, this knowledge did little to prepare me for that day in 2009 when the midwife told me of her 'concerns' about my beautiful, perfect one-day-old son Finlay.

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Maggie’s Story

In July 2004 my life changed forever when my first child, Alex, was born. For the first two hours or so life was perfect, then shortly after a worried nurse and consultant gave me news that would change my life.

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Meet The Team Our Stories