Thank You Team Sunshine & Smiles

Thank You Team Sunshine & Smiles

On Saturday 7th July & Sunday 8th July a wonderful number of people took part in the Mini & Junior Fun Runs & Leeds 10K to raise funds for Sunshine & Smiles!

Both days were very hot and everyone did so well to run their races & to finish safely …. a total of 42 runners!!!

We are so grateful for everyone’s support and what a fabulous team atmosphere with all the people cheering us on both days too!

So far these all these amazing people have raised £3,619 …. wow… thank you!!!

Cafe 21 … Keep Popping Up!

Cafe 21 … Keep Popping Up!

The Cafe 21 team continue to pop up at a variety of events in & around Leeds!

On 24th June were serving drinks & refreshments for a fundraising Wine Walk in Far Headingley with the proceeds from the event being donated to Sunshine & Smiles.

Then on Friday 29th June we were invited to serve drinks & refreshments for the inaugural event of Sikh Alliance Yorkshire, Love Thy Neighbour,, raising awareness of mental health issues.

Both events were a huge success for everyone involved and Team Cafe 21 worked incredibly hard as always and did us proud!

Thank You Dman & friends!

Thank You Dman & friends!

Thank you to Dman & friends (AKA Lyall’s brother Dan) who arranged an inclusive and accessible club night on Saturday 16th June at Hyde Park Book Club.

It was a very relaxed & friendly atmosphere with family focused fun & activities for the early part of the evening which many of our Sunshine & Smiles families enjoyed.

The rest of the night also proved to be a huge success with people partying until 4am!

What a fantastic idea and hopefully something Dman & friends can build on for future events that promote inclusion and accessibility for all at club nights!

Not only was the evening fantastic the event has raised £1100.00 for Sunshine & Smiles … a huge thank you from all of us Dan!!


Cafe 21 Pops Up Again

Cafe 21 Pops Up Again

On Sunday June 10th we were delighted to be invited to run a pop up Cafe 21 cake stall at an open gardens event near Bingley, with our friend & supporter Dr Shiela Puri.

Louise, Roisin, Lorna, Jenn & Celine set up an amazing Cafe 21 stall with delicious home made cakes and served hot & cold drinks.

It was a very successful day with takings of just over £300 including donations, which will go directly back into running Cafe 21 & Sunshine and Smiles.

As you can see Cafe 21 has been developing since our Carousel pop up in March and we are very grateful for the support of Phoenix & Wolfe Accountancy for helping us to purchase our Cafe 21 gazebo and banners. Thank you too to Ark display who did us proud with the artwork and for making them for us in super quick time!

We are very pleased to say we have a number of other pop Cafe 21 opportunities coming up in July & August … watch this space!


A Beautiful Partnership with Phoenix Health & Wellbeing

A Beautiful Partnership with Phoenix Health & Wellbeing

Just a little reminder to all our Sunshine & Smiles families about our wonderful partnership with Phoenix Health & Wellbeing … we all know how busy life can be and that sometimes extra hurdles can take their toll which is why we teamed up with Phoenix.

Phoenix offer a range of complementary therapies, massage and counselling – 3 years ago we raised funds specifically to create this partnership so that anyone who is part of Sunshine & Smiles can access any of these services free of charge, whenever they need them.

To get the code to quote for free treatments please see the group Facebook page or email … all treatments are provided anonymously and Sunshine & Smiles just get an invoice for treatments with the group code but with no personal details at all. Or if you prefer we can con

Please see below for more details of some of the services available or visit their website here: Phoenix Health and Wellbeing Website


Relaxing Body Massage

Relaxing body massage at our Leeds City Centre venue aims to gently warm and stretch the muscles.  The therapist uses techniques which have been proven to be effective in reducing muscle tension and cleansing muscle tissue. The massage techniques have also been proven to reduce the production of stress hormones and stimulate the release of positive endorphins in the brain.

Aromatherapy Aromatherapy massage uses plant extracts to treat physical and emotional conditions.  The oils extracted from certain plants have specific properties. When we combine these oils they form a powerful mixture that will really enhance the effect of our massage.Reflexology 

Reflexology is a therapy that uses nerves or reflex points in the bottom of your feet to stimulate organs and structures in the body. It is based on the principle in Chinese medicine that we all have energy channels which run vertically through the body. The energy in these channels is a vital life force or Chi.

All of these energy channels can be accessed via the feet. Reflexologists have mapped the structures as well as organs of the body to specific points on the feet.  This allows a trained reflexologist to use the treatment to provide a non-invasive approach to promoting health and wellbeing.

Craniosacral Therapy

Dr William Sutherland was the pioneer cranial osteopathy from which craniosacral therapy treatment came. Discovering intrinsic movements of the bones in the head and different rhythms in the body.  He found that these movements are inextricably linked to mental as well as emotional health.

Our bodies cope daily with physical and emotional stresses which can cause the body tissues to contract. We rarely realize how tight we are inside and do not take time to relax and allow the tissues a chance to release by themselves.  Craniosacral treatment helps to relax your overstimulated nervous system and promote rest and relaxation which in turn enhances your body’s natural ability to heal.

Hot Stone Massage

A hot stone massage uses heated volcanic stones to warm tight muscles. Your therapist will position the hot stones on specific points around the body, usually the shoulders as well as the spine. The heat from the stones penetrates into the muscle and helps to disperse tension. This makes the superficial and deeper muscles relax and the massage therapist can then give a deeper massage. Sometimes the massage therapist also uses the stones during the massage.


Counselling gives you the opportunity to talk about issues affecting your life in a safe and confidential environment. Our counsellors will listen to you and help you work through any problems or difficulties you may have in your life. They are here to help you understand how past experiences may be affecting your life today, and your relationships.

Counselling can provide you with a space to think about how you deal with life events and help you to make your own choices.

Fabulous Fundraisers

Fabulous Fundraisers

This month has seen some amazing fundraising challenges taking place and we would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken on these fantastic personal challenges to support, and raise funds for, Sunshine & Smiles!

On Friday 6th April Jack Lonsdale spent the day football ground hopping, taking in every football ground in Yorkshire! So far he has raised a phenomenal £526 … four times as much as his original fundraising target!

You can read more here:

On Wednesday 11th April our daring dance teacher, Laura Jakes, will take to the skies for a fundraising parachute jump .. you can read more & sponsor her here:

On Sunday 15th April one of our brilliant Great North Runners from 2017, Beth Liddle, takes on a full marathon distance in Brighton, please support her by visiting her fundraising page here:

And finally on 22nd April – the ultimate marathon! Chris Chapman will start his fundraising journey for us by running The Virginmoney London Marathon and then later in the year he will be taking on an Ironman 70.3 Triathlon challenge .. wow! Again, you can read more & show your support by visiting Chris’ fundraising page here:

Sunshine & Smiles rely very much on fundraising & donations to be able to run our groups & activities as well as developing new areas of our work … we are extremely grateful to everyone who fund raises for us and all those who generously donate .. we couldn’t continue our work without you!


Great News from the Co-Op Community Fund

Great News from the Co-Op Community Fund


Ben & Thalia - Co-Op Celebration Day

We were delighted to visit the Swinnow Lane Co-Op on Saturday 25th November to join in their Community Fund celebrations and receive a cheque for the funds raised for Sunshine & Smiles.

We were overwhelmed to be presented with £3897.55 which will go directly to running a variety of different groups and activities for children and young people who have Down syndrome and their families.

Carol Gray from Farsley Co-Op said:

‘So proud to be part of the Co-Op and our Membership contributing every day to our local communities.’

Sunshine & Smiles families including Lou, Niall, Ben, James & Elliott Cook and Ailith, Aiyana & Thalia Harley-Roberts enjoyed facepainting, a tombola and a penalty shoot out at the celebration event.

Lou Cook, who is a parent from Sunshine & Smiles and also a Co-Op employee, was very glad to be able to say thanks:

‘Incredibly proud and humbled to be part of our Co-Op more than ever today. What a difference the money raised will make to Sunshine & Smiles and not to mention my lovely Ben taking centre stage!’



Bramley Baths Partnership secures Children in Need Funding

Bramley Baths Partnership secures Children in Need Funding

Since 2015 we have been running regular swimming sessions at Bramley Baths, a beautiful, Victorian & community led swimming pool in West Leeds.

The sessions are designed to be a mixture of fun family swim for everyone with short, structured, small group teaching sessions for children & young people with Down syndrome.

The sessions proved so popular that in 2016 we worked with Tracy, chief executive , and Sharon, swimming teacher, at Bramley Baths to put together a funding application for Children in Need which resulted in a year of funded swimming sessions.

This year, as the funding period came to an end, we reflected on how we could improve the sessions & developed a plan to have bookable 1:1 sessions for up to 16 children & young people per session alongside the ever popular family swim session.

We again worked with Bramley Baths and they submitted an application to Children in Needs for a further 3 years of funding.

We are delighted that this funding application was successful and that our fortnightly swimming sessions are now secure until July 2020.

If you would like to find out more about the sessions or to book a 1:1 teaching session please email:


Take part in Leeds 10K for Sunshine and Smiles

Take part in Leeds 10K for Sunshine and Smiles

We are delighted to say that we have four reduced price places for Leeds 10k on 10th July 2016.

A fast and flat 10k out along Kirkstall Road and back into the City Centre … definitely a Personal Best route and it’s a great atmosphere with supporters all along the way!

If you would like to run or know anyone who would like a place please contact for more details.

Places cost £22 (charity place price) and we are asking people to aim to raise some sponsorship for Sunshine & Smiles.

We can send you sponsor forms and a link to set up your own fundraising page.

Thank You Leeds

Thank You Leeds

It’s been a fantastic week for Sunshine and Smiles celebrating World Down Syndrome Day.

And we have felt truly part of, and supported, by our City of Leeds.

A photography project launch and exhibition at Kirkstall Abbey Visitor’s Centre.

The First Direct Arena lit up in blue and yellow for 3 days in recognition of Down syndrome awareness.

Our I Am Me film played on the Big Screen at Millennium Square on a regular basis for a whole week.

Thank you Leeds!

Kirkstall 2      first-direct-arena

big screen 1

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