Sussex-based charity secures CLA Charitable Trust funding to help run horticulture activities for young people

Down Syndrome Development Trust (DSDT) among the groups to successfully apply for funding
Green-fingered youngsters supported by Down Syndrome Development Trust.jpg
Green-fingered youngsters supported by Down Syndrome Development Trust

A Sussex-based charity that supports people with Down syndrome has been awarded £1,000 from the CLA Charitable Trust (CLACT) to help run horticulture activities.

The trust is funded almost entirely by subscriptions and donations from members of the CLA, an organisation which represents thousands of farmers, landowners and rural businesses.

It provides grants to charities and community organisations who share its vision to help connect young people who are disabled or disadvantaged with the countryside and nature.

The Down Syndrome Development Trust (DSDT) is among the groups to successfully apply for funding in the most recent round of awards, receiving £1,000.

The grant will be used to help young people with Down syndrome get involved in outdoor horticulture activities, learning about plants and how to maintain them as well as managing landscapes, woodcraft, sustainability, renewable energy and biodiversity. The experiences provide creative and practical skills that are transferable into employment, as well as boosting well-being by connecting with nature at places such as Stanmer Park.

Senay Smallwood, DSDT Managing Director, said: “We are very grateful for the CLA Charitable Trust grant, which will help fund our new branch of the Social and Learning Provision to support young people aged 16 to 25 with Down syndrome in exploring different land-based and personal development themes through horticultural work.

“Our provision, based at the University of Sussex, is a leading example of inclusion within society and we are extremely proud of our attendees and its growing success.

“Since its start in November 2022 the clear benefits the provision brings to attendees and to the volunteer university students who work directly with the people we support, has shown that inclusion is as fundamental to our young people’s lives as it is to the future of our communities.”

Bridget Biddell, Chairman of CLACT, said: “We are pleased to be able to support the impactful work of DSDT in providing horticultural training for students with Down syndrome.

“The collaboration with the University of Sussex is an exciting initiative.”


Since its foundation in 1980, CLACT has given £2m in grants to a wide variety of organisations and projects.

If you would like to know more about applying for funding, or to donate, visit

For more information about the CLA and its work, visit and follow @CLASouthEast on Twitter.

Down Syndrome Development Trust helps young people connect with nature PICS NOT FOR REUSE.jpeg
Down Syndrome Development Trust helps young people connect with nature.