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cool cause Kildare actor Mark Smith launches ice cream to help those with Down Syndrome into work

HB in collaboration with Down Syndrome Ireland have raised over €3.7 million

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Mark Smith prepares to take a bite of ice cream which will raise funds for Down Syndrome Ireland

Mark Smith prepares to take a bite of ice cream which will raise funds for Down Syndrome Ireland

Mark Smith prepares to take a bite of ice cream which will raise funds for Down Syndrome Ireland

Renowned actor Mark Smith, who was born with Down syndrome, has spoken of his concerns around people with the condition finding employment during the pandemic as he helps launch a new skills and opportunities programme for people living with the condition.

Kildare man Mark, who co-created a show based on his life called Making a Mark, was speaking as charity Down Syndrome Ireland in collaboration with HB celebrates their 20-year anniversary.

Having created a new ice cream pack with HB, which will see 10 cents from each pack sold donated to the charity, Mark said: “I have been so lucky and given the best start in my working life, alongside amazing people who are helping me develop my acting and writing career.

“However, for other people with Down syndrome, especially since the pandemic it’s been really hard finding work experience and full time employment.”

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Renowned Actor Mark Smith launches the 20th anniversary partnership of Down Syndrome Ireland and HB. To mark the milestone this year, HB has created a special Hazelbrook Farm Vanilla Pack that will see 10 cents donated directly to the worthy charity from each pack sold.  Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Renowned Actor Mark Smith launches the 20th anniversary partnership of Down Syndrome Ireland and HB. To mark the milestone this year, HB has created a special Hazelbrook Farm Vanilla Pack that will see 10 cents donated directly to the worthy charity from each pack sold. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Renowned Actor Mark Smith launches the 20th anniversary partnership of Down Syndrome Ireland and HB. To mark the milestone this year, HB has created a special Hazelbrook Farm Vanilla Pack that will see 10 cents donated directly to the worthy charity from each pack sold. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

He added: ”This project is going to help so many people like me and how cool - we get to enjoy some delicious ice cream while raising money for this very important programme.”

In the twenty years HB has collaborated with the charity, they have raised over €3.7 million for DSI.

Funds raised from the ice cream initiative will go towards the charity’s Work Readiness Programme which combines training and courses to equip participants with the skills they need for employment, as well as facilitating opportunities for work placement in order to stop people with Down syndrome being left behind by the pandemic.

HB’s new ice cream pack, DSI Hazelbrook Farm Vanilla, will be available in shops in Ireland until September.

Barry Sheridan, CEO of Down Syndrome Ireland said “We are so proud to celebrate the launch of this HB initiative which is a symbol of a wonderful 20 year partnership with Down Syndrome Ireland. The funds raised down through the 20 years have been vital in making a real and tangible positive impact on the lives of those with Down syndrome and their families. This year’s initiative which will be supported through the funds raised is no different - our Work Readiness Programme demonstrates how DSI supports those with Down syndrome through all stages of life. We’re incredibly grateful to HB and Unilever for its long-standing support and for marking our 20 year milestone with a celebratory pack.”

Gill Irvine from Unilever added: “We deeply value our close and successful partnership with Down Syndrome Ireland and it has been wonderful to see how this partnership has evolved over the last 20 years. We are delighted to commemorate this milestone with the launch of our special edition HB Hazelbrook Farm pack and hope consumers will join us in supporting the important work of DSI by picking up a pack to enjoy this summer."

To donate directly to DSI visit www.downsyndrome.ie

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