Specsavers in Hamilton received a visit from a group of talented youngsters as they celebrated reaching the final stage in a community-focused competition.

The Ups and Downs Theatre Group has been named as a finalist in the Community Champion category in this year’s Daily Record Great Scot Awards.

Specsavers is the category sponsor and members of the public nominated potential Community Champions through their local Specsavers stores or online. The category recognises individuals or groups who have shown incredible commitment to improving the lives of people in their local area.

Warm welcome

When staff at the Hamilton store heard Ups and Downs reached the final, they invited the group into the Quarry Street store to offer their congratulations and wish them good luck.

Established 20 years ago, Ups and Downs gives children and young adults living with Down’s Syndrome an outlet for their drama skills and creativity. The group stages a show at the Hamilton Townhouse every March where every young performer gets the chance to take part.

Proud to be a finalist

Ups and Downs president Angela Jack – whose son Aaron has been a group member for more than 10 years - said: ‘It’s fantastic to have Specsavers’ support in the Community Champion category at the Great Scot Awards. The store is a really important part of the Hamilton community and many of our cast members are customers.

‘We’re very proud to have been named as a finalist; it demonstrates the incredibly positive impact Ups and Downs has on the community. Some of the youngsters aren’t very vocal in their daily lives but the show gives everyone the chance to express themselves.

‘It’s so important for youngsters living with Down’s to achieve their goals.’

Good luck for the finals

Specsavers Hamilton store director Emma Foster said: ‘It was great to meet the youngsters from Ups and Downs. The group provides young people living with Down’s and their families with a fantastic outlet and great support network.

‘We’re delighted that they’ve made it to the final stages and wish them all the best in the competition.’

The overall award winners will be announced at a star-studded awards ceremony hosted by newspaper columnist and newsreader Jackie Bird in the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow on Saturday 17 October.

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