The Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge – Done!!!

The Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge – Done!!!

Thank you so much to everyone who took on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge on Saturday 2nd June.

17 amazing walkers setting off from Horton in Ribblesdale at 7.30am to tackle the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge under the guidance of David Wilson from Experience Northumberland, who has led this walk for us for 3 years now!

Yorkshire’s 3 highest peaks – Pen-y-ghent, Whernside & Ingleborough – 25 miles, 3 peaks, all in a target time of 12 hours!

Raising vital funds for Sunshine & Smiles – Leeds Down Syndrome Network.

Despite a damp and cloudy day, everyone completed the walk safely and agreed it was a fantastic, if tough challenge!

Our favourite quotes from the day:

‘I love these walks because I get to know new people’

‘I didn’t think it would be this hard’

‘I feel like I have conquered the world’

So far the 3 Peaks Challenge Fundraisers have raised a combined total of £1837.50 .. could you help us get to £2000!!??


You can donate to this year’s team: Donate To Us Here


Sign up to another one of our fundraising challenges this year – Leeds 10k on 8th July or the Great North Run on 9th September … drop us an email on or ring 07902 054355

Ailith Harley-Roberts is Awarded Yorkshire Woman of Achievement 2018 for Community Impact

Ailith Harley-Roberts is Awarded Yorkshire Woman of Achievement 2018 for Community Impact

On 18 May, our Service Manager, Ailith  Harley-Roberts was awarded Yorkshire Woman of Achievement 2018 for Community Impact in recognition of her amazing contribution to Sunshine & Smiles, her tireless fundraising efforts and her determination to make a difference.

Ailith said: ‘Sunshine & Smiles is borne out of so many people supporting each other, sharing their stories & experiences and striving to make things different.
The award that I received for Community Impact belongs to everyone who is, has been & will be part of Sunshine & Smiles. The hard work, dedication & commitment of all our staff, volunteers & trustees, the people who run sessions for us & work in partnership with us, our friends & families who enable us to do all the things we do and offer time, love, support & cake in abundance. The people who champion our cause & believe in what we do.We know there is so much more work to do & many more families & young people we need to support better!’

The Sue Ryder Women of Achievement Awards celebrates the achievements of incredible women from across Yorkshire.


The moment Ailith won the Community Award today at the Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards! Congratulations again lady!

Posted by Kerry Maule on Friday, 18 May 2018

Shop with Amazon & Search with Savoo … and raise funds for Sunshine & Smiles

Shop with Amazon & Search with Savoo … and raise funds for Sunshine & Smiles

Savoo Search, Save and Raise

We’re excited to announce Savoo Search, Save and Raise as one of our new fundraising partners, and we’d like to introduce you to this innovative way of donating. Simply use Savoo Search as your default search engine (the same way as you would your current search engine) and Savoo will donate 1p for every search. If you’re looking to do some online shopping and want to get a great deal, Savoo has thousands of voucher codes and deals that will help you save money & they will donate to Sunshine and Smiles at the same time – find out more & support Sunshine & Smile by clicking here: Link to Savoo

Shop with Amazon Smile and Donate

We are now also registered with Amazon Smile so that every time you shop using Amazon you can donate to Sunshine & Smiles … all you need to do is follow this link to choose Sunshine & Smiles as the charity you would like to support: Link to Amazon Smile and then always do your Amazon shopping using the Amazon Smile site – your account, shopping cart etc will all be the same as the standard Amazon site … but this way you can support Sunshine & Smiles too!

Please share with your family & friends as every little helps!

Arena Group Leeds Mini & Junior Runs – Saturday 7th July

Arena Group Leeds Mini & Junior Runs – Saturday 7th July

It’s been a few years since Sunshine & Smiles were the partner charity for this fab children & young people’s event which is run the same weekend as Leeds 10k – why not make it a weekend of family running as we have a few Leeds 1ok places left too!!

It was fantastic to witness the sea of Sunshine & Smiles families in their running vests & t-shirts heading out from Leeds dock in 2015 and even though we’re not the partner charity this year it would be wonderful if we could get a Sunshine & Smiles team together to run!

New for 2018, both the mini and junior events will take place at the John Charles Centre for Sport in South Leeds – easily reached from across the city and with ample onsite free parking.

Youngsters aged 3 to 8 can tacke a 1.5km course – they’ll need a grown up to take part too, Those aged 9 and above can take on a 2.5km course and don’t need an adult to run with.

Run For All events aim to be entirely inclusive, regardless of ability. So, if your child has mobility or other issues or has any other special considerations, please get in touch so we can help you and them have the best experience.

The atmosphere is set to be electric, the perfect confidence booster for all the little ones (and some of the bigger ones!) crossing the line. Every finisher will also receive a goody bag and finisher’s medal to show the world they did it!

To find out more & register to run you need to go to the Run for All website 

Once you’ve registered you can set up your very own fundraising page for Sunshine & Smiles via our Local Giving site and we have running t-shirts for children & adults plus paper sponsor forms too … just let us know if you would like any fundraising resources by emailing

We hope to see you on the start line!!


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.

Take part in the Great North Run for Sunshine & Smiles – 9th September 2018

Take part in the Great North Run for Sunshine & Smiles – 9th September 2018

Are you looking for a personal challenge, to do something that makes a difference or just a bit of motivation to get out more!

We are down to our last couple of places for The Great North Run on Sunday 9th September 2018.

A fabulous half marathon starting in Newcastle, heading out over the iconic Tyne bridge and finishing on the sea front in South Shields .. .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 £60 (cost price) and we can send you sponsor forms and a link to set up your own fundraising page, plus the support of a lovely Sunshine & Smiles team!

Please join us and help us to continue running all of our group & activities plus our much needed individual support to families.

Volunteer With Us!

Volunteer With Us!

Could you spare a few hours of your time each month?

We really need your help to keep running our groups and develop the work that we do 🙂

We are looking to increase our volunteer team and would welcome regular volunteers who can support children & young people during activities and groups.

We also have our garden space at Stainbeck Community Hall which would welcome any volunteer gardeners on a regular basis!

Please drop us an email to and we can send you a volunteer registration form.

We look forward to hearing from you 🙂

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!


Leeds United Foundation – Football Camps

Leeds United Foundation – Football Camps

We are delighted to announce the Leeds United Foundation have offered us some football holiday camps to be held at the Grammar School at Leeds.

We have secured Wednesday 30 May and the following are in the summer holidays, all on Thursdays: 2 August, 9 August, 16 August, 23 August and 30 August.

The sessions will run from 10am-12.30. The one we ran in February half term was a great success and as the weather was cold we accessed the indoor provision the whole morning.

The session was perfectly pitched for our budding footballers and they all had a wonderful morning.

If you would like to put your name down please contact Joanna Rowlands:

We understand most people will have some holidays booked in August and it is not important to attend every session at all.

If you have never accessed the football sessions please do come along to these holiday camps and try them out.

Parents & carers will need to stay at the session to support their children.

Age range – 4 years to 11 years. 

The Future of Cafe 21

The Future of Cafe 21

Last week saw a phenomenally busy & wonderful pilot project in the form of Cafe 21.

We took over the Carousel event space in Far Headingley from 16th to 25th March – running a cafe everyday with evening events such as a film screening, pamper, pottery & curry nights!

A team of 6 young adults with Down syndrome worked at the cafe throughout the week supported by Sunshine & Smiles staff & volunteers.

Everyone worked incredibly hard, the team work was amazing … and the cafe was so busy we had to turn customers away! We also had visits from local TV & newspapers who were keen to know more about the project.

It was an incredible week which has definitely given us a taste for where Cafe 21 could lead in the future … but what now?!

Initially we are going to work towards Team Cafe 21 being responsible for the catering & refreshments at our fundraising events such as the Spring Fair & The Book Giveaway … but we have also had time to reflect on how we ensure that the project continues to include as many young people as possible and to acknowledge that everyone’s journey is different and sometimes more complex.

We have a number of young adults who we would like to involve in the next stages of the project … and we also have a whole new generation of Team Cafe 21 growing up … all of whom have different support needs, health issues and additional diagnoses.

This was very much a pilot project and we are committed to ensuring we move forwards with every child & young person in mind for the future of Cafe 21.

Meet Lyall

Lyall is 8yrs old and loved coming to Cafe 21.

Lyall had a very complex start in life. He has had 2 open heart surgeries, major stomach surgery, relied on a ventilator to breathe from 7months until almost 3yrs and had a tracheostomy until he was nearly 5. He spent most of his first 18months in hospital and was completely fed via gastrostomy until he was 3 and still doesn’t drink.

Despite the medical challenges he has faced Lyall is a confident, sociable and hilarious little boy who lives life to the full.

When Lyall did start eating he soon discovered cake and would sign it regularly. After his airway was reconstructed and his trachy removed it was easier for him to speak and “Cake” in a broad Yorkshire accent was one of his first words!

Lyall loves helping out at home and likes to set and clear the table. His favourite meal is a roast dinner and he likes to help cut up the vegetables. He knows all the ingredients needed to make a cake and enjoys baking at home and school although his love of raw cake mix does sometimes mean there’s not much mixture left to actually put in a tin and bake!

If Lyall doesn’t achieve his first ambition of being a contestant on Strictly or his 2nd ambition of being a host on “Pointless” or “Celebrity Mastermind” then he’d absolutely love to work somewhere like Cafe 21.

When he brought his friends from school for a visit they all thought it would be really cool if he worked somewhere like this and said they’d text him to say they were coming to visit! He’s a real host and has liked chatting to customers this week and clearing away plates, most of the time remembering to wait until the customer had finished!

Lyall has so much to offer and with the right support is capable of achieving so much. It would be so fantastic if Cafe 21 could become a permanent part of Sunshine and Smiles and young people like Lyall could gain the training and experience they need to go on and gain employment.

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