A Fantastic Partnership with SaccoMann to Start 2018!

A Fantastic Partnership with SaccoMann to Start 2018!

A fantastic start to 2018 with the announcement that SaccoMann, a specialist legal and IP recruitment consultancy operating in Leeds, Manchester and London, have selected Sunshine & Smiles as the firm’s charity of the year.

We were delighted to be invited to meet the team in the Leeds office to tell them a little more about what we do and were amazed when they got in touch a few days later to say that they had collected over 140 selection boxes from heir clients which meant that we were able to give one to every single child attending our Christmas party.

Victoria Clark from SaccoMann wrote:

“Following a nomination process, Sunshine & Smiles has been elected as the clear winner for our 2018 charity of the year.

We are excited about working together and raising money to help the charity continue to deliver vital services to support children and young people with Down Syndrome in Leeds.”

Jonathan Astin, one of the Trustees of Sunshine & Smiles said:

“We look forward to working together throughout the coming year and participating in many planned fundraising activities.”

Thank You to NISA – Making a Difference Locally

Thank You to NISA – Making a Difference Locally

We were very pleased to welcome Neil Potter, NISA Regional Manager for the North, to Stainbeck Community Hall last week.

Neil presented Ania & Sarb with two cheques, each for £300,  raised through their Making a Difference Locally scheme (MADL).

Neil explained that as NISA have stores all over the country it is very important for them to support the local communities they serve.

We are delighted to receive this funding in addition to £500 which was donated from a local NISA store last year.


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!’



Could you be one of our new Trustees? Find out more here!

Could you be one of our new Trustees? Find out more here!

Sunshine & Smiles – Leeds Down Syndrome Network is looking for two new trustees:

We are a small, local Leeds charity supporting children & young people who have Down syndrome and their families. We run a range of groups & activities and offer individual support to families when needed. We are also engaged in awareness raising in our local communities and with health & education professionals.

Do you have skills & experience in any of the following areas:

Finance, law, fundraising or marketing

Do you have a background in either the corporate or voluntary sector?

Could you spare 3 or 4 hours each month, in a voluntary capacity, to help Sunshine & Smiles become sustainable in the long term but also to grow and develop?

If the answer is yes, we would love to hear from you!

Follow us on Twitter: @sun_smilesleeds or

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SunshineAndSmilesLeedsDownSyndromeNetwork

For a full job description follow this link: JOB DESCRIPTION FOR TRUSTEES

For an application form please contact: ailith@sunshineandsmiles.org.uk

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: ailith@sunshineandsmiles.org.uk


Wesleyan Foundation Funding Success

Wesleyan Foundation Funding Success

Sunshine & Smiles is absolutely delighted to have been awarded £8000 from the Wesleyan Foundation. This funding will enable us to start a new venture aimed at supporting young adults who have Down syndrome with training & work experience opportunities. The project will develop a community cafe & garden  but in the long term will enable Sunshine & Smiles to develop a way of being more self-sufficient in terms of funding & revenue raising. We are very excited to get started & have already started to source possible venues & training providers. We would like to say a huge thank you to Wesleyan and to everyone who voted for us.

This initial  funding will be spent on training for young adults who have Down syndrome, equipment to set up the cafe & garden, staffing & volunteering costs and rent for a venue.

We will also be looking for committed volunteers to help with the cafe & the garden so if you are interested please get in touch for a registration form: ailith@sunshineandsmiles.org.uk

You can find out more about the Wesleyan Foundation here: http://www.wesleyan.co.uk/foundation/


Sunshine & Smiles – AGM & Annual Report

Sunshine & Smiles – AGM & Annual Report

We are delighted to share our Annual Report for the Financial Year December 2015 – November 2016 at our Annual General Meeting on 27th September 2017 at Ambiente Tapas in Leeds.

The evening will begin with our formal AGM; summarising our annual accounts & report, voting in members of the Board of Trustees and thanking our partners & supporters. There will also be a chance for discussion and questions.

We will then enjoy sharing a meal.

You can view a copy of the annual report by following this link: Sunshine & Smiles – Leeds Down Syndrome Network – Annual Report 2015 – 2016

Disabled Access Day in partnership with Barclays

Disabled Access Day in partnership with Barclays

On Friday 10th March we celebrated Disabled Access Day in partnership with Barclays and a whole host of local organisations & national businesses.

In 2015 Disabled Access Day began as a day to celebrate good access and created opportunities for people to try something new. The day was about highlighting the fantastic access that already exists in places, such as touch tours, relaxed performances, sensory experiences, level access and of course a warm welcome!

Disabled Access Day is sponsored by Euan’s Guide: a listing and review site that helps disabled people, their friends and families know which venues are accessible.

We were delighted to meet Paul Ralph, the founder of Disabled Access Day, and hear him speak about his experiences and motivation for initiating the event which is now becoming internationally recognised.

We also had a great time at Barclays Bank on Albion Street meeting new people, making connections with other local charities and testing out new technology such as the ‘microbit’ that Barclays are using to enable people who are vision impaired to navigate around their branches, and also bPay … a simple wristband that acts like a contactless debit card so you can make electronic payments in shops by just presenting the wrist band at the paypoint.

Made in Leeds TV also came along to film the event .. more details soon!



Take on the 3 Yorkshire Peaks Challenge for Sunshine & Smiles

Take on the 3 Yorkshire Peaks Challenge for Sunshine & Smiles

Please help us to raise much needed work to sustain all of the groups & activities that we currently run and to help us meet the ongoing demand for Speech & Language sessions and develop other areas of support such as Education Health & Care plans, physiotherapy & occupational therapy.

The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is a demanding but rewarding walk which takes in the summits of Pen-y-ghent (694 metres – 2,276 feet), Whernside (736 metres – 2,415 feet) and Ingleborough (723 metres 2,372 feet) all in one circular route. There is no set starting point, but the vast majority of walkers start at Horton in Ribblesdale, taking in the summits in the order shown above. The walk is 24.5 miles (39.2km) long and takes in approximately 5,000 feet (1,600 metres) of climbing. The walking is over a variety of terrains and the paths, especially over the previously boggy sections, have been improved immensely over recent years by work undertaken by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

The walk follows a circular route which finishes back at the car park so there is no need for additional transport arrangements. Target walking time is 12 hours. The cost of the day is £36 per person (10% of this will be donated back to Sunshine & Smiles by the walk guide) and this covers pre-challenge support & guidance and an experienced guide, David Wilson, throughout the day itself.

You can set up your own, or a team, fundraising page via our Local Giving site: https://localgiving.org/charity/sunshineandsmiles/

Ideal times for the walk are April, May or June and we would like to get a team together as soon as possible to start planning the event & so people can start training… please email: ailith@sunshineandsmiles.org.uk if you would like to take part.

Thank You Taylor’s of Harrogate

Thank You Taylor’s of Harrogate

Following a very successful relationship with Taylor’s of Harrogate who chose Sunshine & Smiles for their 2015 Charity of the Year, we are delighted to have received a further donation of £900 this month.

These much needed funds will go towards supporting our organised football group Sunshine FC,  with new kit & pitch hire and to make our lovely Magic Bags, with Makaton resource packs, that are provided to new families.

Ailith, Sunshine & Smiles Service Manager said “We are so pleased to have continued our relationship with Taylor’s and this £900 means we can make new magic bags for the next 12 months, contribute towards football kits for our budding footballers and ensure the football sessions keep running, thank you to everyone who kept us in mind and supported our funding request.”


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