Rugby girl fighting Down syndrome stereotypes with hospital display

University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire arts coordinator Emma Linnane, transitional care manager Sue Aucutt, Rachel Willmott with her children Ella and Connor, and The Ups of Downs founder Nicola Enoch. Photo: UHCW NNL-170606-144352001
University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire arts coordinator Emma Linnane, transitional care manager Sue Aucutt, Rachel Willmott with her children Ella and Connor, and The Ups of Downs founder Nicola Enoch. Photo: UHCW NNL-170606-144352001
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A toddler from Rugby is featured in a major new photo display celebrating the talents and personalities of children with Down syndrome at University Hospital.

Ella Hands is one of dozens of children with Down syndrome aged from a few weeks to 12 showcased in the #thischildcan exhibition.

The displays was produced by charity The Ups of Downs and aims to challenge outdated stereotypes and images of the condition.

Last week, Ella came with her mum Rachel Willmott and big brother Connor to see the photos at the hospital in Coventry, along with the charity’s founder Nicola Enoch.

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust arts coordinator Emma Linnane said the reaction from everyone has been very supportive.

“When Nicola approached us about her beautiful exhibition, we were so happy to support it,” she said.

“We’re always looking for new ways that we can brighten and improve the hospital environment for our patients and visitors.

“The #thischildcan exhibition has only just gone on display, and we’ve already received so many lovely comments from patients, relatives and staff.”

The exhibition was launched at the Royal Spa Centre in Leamington Spa in March to coincide with World Down Syndrome Day, and has also been displayed at other locations across Warwickshire.

The new pictures are available for patients, visitors and staff to view on the ground floor and first floor of the hospital.

The ones on the first floor will be there for at least a year as they are on a long term loan, but the ground floor display is a shorter loan so they will be coming down in a few months.

The display was produced with support from many local and national businesses.

“We very much hope that these photographs challenge many of the outdated stereotypes people have of the condition,” Nicola said.

“Our children are living their lives very much to the full and we are immensely proud of them.”

To find out more about healing arts at the NHS Trust visit uhcw.nhs.uk/about-us/healing-arts-programme.

For more information about The Ups of Downs visit upsofdowns.co.uk.