Victory chooses a ‘downright special’ charity of the year

Victory has announced its chosen charity for 2022, which is an organisation particularly close to the heart of one long serving member of staff.


Chris Rooks, flooring department team leader, has worked at Victory for over a decade. Four years ago, he became a dad to daughter Millie, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome before she was born. Chris said: “Following the diagnosis, we were contacted by Downright Special and given helpful information packs on what to expect. The team were in regular contact with us from that point and have been a real lifeline for the whole family ever since.”


Downright Special supports children with Down Syndrome in Hull and the East Riding, assisting families and professionals in all aspects of the care and education of children with the condition. Its aim is to build a brighter future for children with Down Syndrome, supporting them to achieve their full potential and promoting successful inclusion in all aspects of life.


Chris continued: “We visit Downright Special’s Bransholme location on a weekly basis and Millie takes part in lots of different activities. While she’s enjoying football or soft play, my wife Emma and I are able to chat with other parents who share the same challenges as us and understand what we’re going through. It’s an amazing community and I’ve made some true friends there.


“When we were asked to nominate a charity to support this year, I of course suggested Downright Special. My dad and uncle both work at Victory too, so they also proposed the same charity – and I know a couple of my close friends picked it too. It’s great to have the support of my friends and family here at Victory. We’re a close team and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve this year.”


Gillian Bowlas, charity manager, at Downright Special said: “We’re delighted that Victory has selected Downright Special as its chosen charity this year. We’re run by a small team of professionally trained volunteers and staff and offer a range of services – from sensory groups for babies and weekly fun and education sessions to sharing resource packs with children starting school, training teachers and working with local health and education services to improve the care pathway.


“To have support from big local businesses like Victory is absolutely fantastic and will have a big impact on the charity. We look forward to seeing what we can achieve this year!”


Shirin Kemp, marketing director at Victory added: “We’ve always supported local charities at Victory. Giving back and doing the right thing for our members of staff has always been core to our values and our ethos as a company.


“Chris has been an exceptional team member here at Victory and the support the charity provides for Millie and the whole family has obviously been invaluable. We’re incredibly proud to be supporting Downright Special this year.


“First up, we’ll be taking part in a sponsored five-aside football match planned on 15th March, which falls just before Down Syndrome Awareness Week – which is 21st – 27th March. There are plenty of activities planned for the next 12 months – so watch this space!”

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