Auckland Airport is giving $10,000 each to 12 charities as part of its annual 12 Days of Christmas initiative. The Herald is profiling each initiative in the lead up to the big day. The $120,000 came from change dropped off by travellers at the airport this year.

Speech therapy is widely recognised as the most beneficial kind of therapy for children with Down Syndrome.

It gives kids the chance to communicate and live their lives as an integral part of the community.

The difference it makes not only affects the child, but family, friends and the wider community all benefit from such therapy.


That's why Upside Downs Education Trust supports individualised speech therapy programmes.

Seven children with Down Syndrome will be the direct beneficiaries of the Auckland Airport grant, Sarah Paterson-Hamlin of Upside Downs said.

"$10,000 equates to roughly seven children supported for a whole year to receive speech therapy.

"Upside Downs funds between 50 and 80 per cent of speech therapy costs to an annual cap of between $1000 and $2000 per annum.

"Once a child is taken on by Upside Downs, they and their families are members until they're 18 years old," she said.

Paterson-Hamlin said they were "absolutely thrilled" after being selected to receive the donation.

"Ours is a small organisation, and $10,000 is a huge amount of money for us.

"We feel very honoured to have been entrusted with these funds, and we will continue to work hard to ensure they benefit kids with Down Syndrome," she said.


Anna Cassels-Brown - Auckland Airport's general manager of people and safety - said they were pleased to give a Christmas gift that would keep on giving.

"We love the role we play in bringing people together, and we're delighted to support a charity that's creating opportunities for people right across our community."

Currently the trust supports 128 children all over New Zealand. The grant will go towards funding children in the greater Auckland region.