Dr Richard Simpson MSP Supports Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week


Down’s Syndrome Scotland, which supports people with Down’s syndrome, their families and professionals, organised an exhibition for MSPs at the Scottish Parliament to highlight Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week (16th-22nd March 2015) and the United Nations World Down’s Syndrome Day (Saturday 21st March 2015).

The MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife welcomed the opportunity to learn a little more about Down’s syndrome to better represent and help constituents. The event gave MSPs a chance to obtain information on the condition and the importance of communication skills for people with Down’s Syndrome in Scotland.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP said: “Children with Ds and their parents need continuous support with speech and language therapy. Better communication not only helps children and parents to bond but it also helps children and teenagers with Ds to perform better at school and develop friendships.

Being able to communicate also improves the chances of all adults with Ds to maintain a good quality of life and maintain wellbeing. We know that by age 40, people with Ds have an increased risk of developing dementia. Communications skills should therefore be at the core of delivering person-centred care.

Communication is key to inclusion. By supporting people with Ds to develop and maintain their communication skills we ensure that their voices can be heard in decisions affecting their lives and that their rights are upheld and respected by all.”

Pandora Summerfield, Chief Executive of Down’s Syndrome Scotland, said: “Through our work we have gathered evidence on the benefits of running communication groups for children with Down’s syndrome and their parents. To get it right for every child with Ds, greater recognition and resources should be given to improving communication skills across the country.

To gain employment, maintain relationships and take part in local activities, individuals need to communicate with each other. Some of them may also be affected by early onset dementia and it is crucial to make sure that they can continue to communicate with their carers.”


Notes to editors:


  1. Down’s Syndrome Scotland is the only Scottish charity focused solely on the needs of people with Down’s syndrome and their family carers. It provides information, support and services for people with Down’s syndrome, their families, carers and those with a professional interest. It also seeks to improve knowledge and understanding and champion the rights of people with Down’s syndrome.


  1. Down’s syndrome is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 inside some or all of the body’s cells. Approximately 1 in 1,000 babies are born with Down’s syndrome in the UK. It is one of the most common congenital conditions, which occurs in all ethnic groups. It is the most prevalent chromosomal disorder and also the most frequently recognised cause of intellectual disability.


  1. For more details on Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week (16th-22nd March 2015), United Nations World Down’s Syndrome Day (21st March 2015) and how to get involved, visit www.dsscotland.org.uk/awareness.



Salt Awareness Week

Motion Number: S4M-12714
Lodged By: Richard Simpson
Date Lodged: 18/03/2015

Title: Salt Awareness Week

Motion Text:

That the Parliament welcomes Salt Awareness Week, between 16 and 22 March 2015, as an opportunity to remember that, despite progress being made, people still consume excessive amounts of salt; notes that regularly eating too much salt is associated with raised blood pressure and is a  risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke; further notes that the current 8.1 to 8.8 grams national daily intake per adult still exceeds the recommended maximum daily intake of 6 grams; understands that 75% of salt intake comes from processed foods; welcomes the contribution that the Food  Standards Agency and others have made in terms of the progress made in assisting firms to reformulate food to remain flavoursome but with lower salt content; looks forward to further progress being made toward achieving the new revised salt targets by 2017 in 28 categories and 78 sub groups, and draws members’ attention to these targets at www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/multimedia/spreadsheets/salttargets2017.xls.


The Wee County Men’s Shed

Motion Number: S4M-12654
Lodged By: Richard Simpson
Date Lodged: 12/03/2015

Title: The Wee County Men’s Shed

Motion Text:

That the Parliament welcomes the establishment of the Wee County Men’s Shed in Clackmannanshire; recognises that the Men’s Shed Association is a charity that helps men form a social community to help redefine their purpose and develop their skills by having a shared space for their tools and working projects; understands that it seeks to improve their health and wellbeing and that the first Men’s Shed was established in 2009 by Age Concern Cheshire in Hartford; notes that most sheds are in rural areas and small towns, with a few in large cities; congratulates everyone involved in promoting and leading the Men’s Shed in the “Wee County”, and hopes that it has a bright and exciting future.