I have been a Makaton Tutor for six years. When I heard that Romsey had become a Makaton Friendly town, I decided that it was a fantastic opportunity to get my town, Northwich, to become Makaton Friendly.
As part of my job, I run Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group, I thought this would be a wonderful way to help the Down's syndrome community be even more included in Northwich.
My first challenge was to get funding, I approached local Rotary Clubs, Town council and applied for grants. It wasn’t easy, but was worth it! We have received enough funding, just about, to apply for the licences that we need.
I have absolutely loved taking up the challenge to make Northwich Makaton Friendly. It has been such a pleasure to work with the local community to spread the word about Makaton.
We have had a range of different businesses come on our training so far. We have had the local library, coffee shops, dental practice, dress shops, parish council and many more. All of them have embraced the new skills that they have learned and are excited about putting it to good use. We now only need a few more to sign up for Northwich to officially become a Makaton friendly town!
As a town, we have decided to continue our learning by having Makaton Coffee Mornings. The aim of these is to broaden the towns understanding of Makaton and get people together. We are hoping that these coffee mornings will be run by our young people with Down's syndrome to, so a real opportunity to get our Makaton users in the heart of the community.
By embarking on this quest, I have really felt the town pulling together. We have had lots of businesses share #MakatonFriendlyNorthwich and we have been inundated with requests for training. I can recommend any other town embarking on the same quest – it is great fun!