Trinidad & Tobago Down Syndrome Family Network
Commonwealth Point of Light 69. Fitzherbert Glen Niles
Fitzherbert Glen Niles, representing Trinidad and Tobago, is drawing on his own experience as a father of a child with Down’s Syndrome to transform the support available for other families.
When Fitzherbert’s son was born with Down’s Syndrome he felt isolated and taken aback by most people’s lack of knowledge about the condition. He created the ‘Down Syndrome Family Network’ to advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down’s Syndrome, and equip families with the access to resources, support and information they needed to help their children to live full and active lives. In six years he has grown the project into a flourishing network, with free quarterly workshops and skills training sessions, including occupational and speech therapy. Every year Fitzherbert hosts an annual conference to coincide with the UN’s World Down’s Syndrome Day, inviting international speakers and government representatives to discuss inclusion and human rights, and providing a forum for parents to meet, share experiences and support each other.
The award for Fitzherbert Glen Niles was presented on Saturday 15th September at at the ‘Down Syndrome Family Network Family Workshop’ by UK High Commissioner in Trinidad and Tobago, Tim Stew MBE.
Tim Stew MBE, UK High Commissioner in Trinidad and Tobago said:
“I am delighted to present Glen Niles with this honour on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. Since he launched the ‘Down Syndrome Family Network’ six years ago, Glen has created a world of new possibilities for people with Down Syndrome in Trinidad and Tobago. His investment in promoting their rights in Trinidad and Tobago has supported a welcome message of equality which I hope this Points of Light Award will help him spread further. There are many people who will be very proud of Glen and pleased to see him recognised through this award. I wish him all strength as he continues his good work.”
Fitzherbert Glen Niles said:
“I am honoured to receive this award in recognition of my work as Chairman and Founder of the ‘Down Syndrome Family Network’. We advocate for the human rights of person with Down Syndrome and other disabilities, not expecting any awards, but to bring about change in how society perceives persons with intellectual and other disabilities. I thank Her Majesty and the British High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago for recognising our efforts and I further commit to working towards an inclusive society. Opportunities truly reveal potential.”
See pictures from the presentation for Fitzherbert Glen Niles: