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


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

For an application form please contact:

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:


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:

You can find out more about the Wesleyan Foundation here:


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:

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: 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.”


Sunshine & Smiles Family Fun Day with Singing Hands – 11th September

Sunshine & Smiles Family Fun Day with Singing Hands – 11th September

Tickets are no longer available on line but can be bought on the door … please ring 07902 054355 to check availability!

Tickets are now on sale for the Family Fun Day … all the details are below:

We have two performances from Singing Hands during the day at 10am (doors open at 9.45am) and 12.30pm (doors open at 12.15pm) … you will need to buy tickets for the specific performance you would like to attend (these tickets also then give you access to the rest of the Family Fun Day activities all day but only one performance by Singing Hands) … further information and links are below:

Family tickets (2 adults & up to 5 children) for the 10am performance are £25.00 (plus online booking fee)
Individual tickets for the 10am performance are £7.00 (plus online booking fee)

Family tickets (2 adults & up to 5 children) for the 12.30pm performance are £25.00 (plus online booking fee)
Individual tickets for the 12.30pm performance are £7.00 (plus online booking fee)

If you just want to come to the Family Fun Day but don’t want to see Singing Hands you can buy family (£10.00 plus online booking fee) or individual tickets (£3.00 plus online booking fee) to enjoy the day and see our other fab entertainment: Tiny Tempo, Leeds Children’s Circus, Roundhay Ukuleles and more…

If you have any problems booking online or can’t use the online ticketing system for whatever reason please email or ring 07902054355.

Look forward to seeing you there!!

WYG write about their volunteering day to transform the Sunshine & Smiles garden

WYG write about their volunteering day to transform the Sunshine & Smiles garden

At WYG we recognise our corporate social responsibility and the importance of giving something back and making a difference to the local community. Thanks to the five volunteering days per year provided by the company as employee benefits, our team of Environmental consultants in Leeds were able to spend a day helping the local charity, Sunshine and Smiles by rehabilitating their garden in Chapel Allerton. Not only would this work make a long-lasting impact on the families using the charity’s garden, but would also do wonders for our team spirit, giving each consultant a rare opportunity to work together and complete the same project in a day, with tangible results. Barry Clarkson, Senior Ecologist at WYG, shares his experience of the day.

Marc Davies, Head of Environment at WYG, is Chair of Trustees of Sunshine and Smiles, a charity that provides support to children and young people with Down Syndrome and their families. Marc’s son, Alby, aged 2, has Down Syndrome, which prompted Marc’s involvement with the charity to raise awareness and support other families. There is no other organisation like this one in Leeds, making its service invaluable.

Patrick and Matt clearing the pathway

The aim of the day was to convert the rear garden of Sunshine and Smiles from a space that was too overgrown to be used by anyone into a usable space where the children could play, relax and learn. The theme of the garden space was one of ecology and environment, aiming to encourage wildlife and promote outdoor education.

The day started out with a safety briefing for the 16 volunteers and a division of the workload.  A bug hotel was created and bat, bird and ladybird boxes were erected on trees. Other projects included creating a usable path into the rear garden, painting fences, building a strawberry planter, planting a sensory garden, clearing weeds and mowing grass. A willow whip den was expertly renovated and additional vegetation was added, to make an impressive hide-away and the timber sand pit was refilled.

Newly finished garden sign

We were fortunate with the weather and the fine conditions saw the team pulling together and working at a blistering rate during the day, only stopping for the occasional hot drink and sweet treat!  The result was extremely impressive with a complete transformation of the space. Sensory plants, including lavender, mint, citrus and curry plants filled the air with smells. At the end of the day post-work tea and cake was devoured and some of the children from Sunshine and Smiles came to enjoy the garden. The team knew it had been a worthwhile day when the children were having a great time exploring this new space and getting stuck in to the sandpit!”

Sunshine & Smiles Annual Report and Annual General Meeting

Sunshine & Smiles Annual Report and Annual General Meeting
Sunshine and smiles annual report front cover jpg
Thank you to everyone who came along to our Annual General Meeting and to everyone who voted by email to elect our Trustees for the next term.
The meeting was a great opportunity to reflect on and share all that we have achieved over the period 2014 – 2015 and to look to the future in terms of our concerns and considerations in the issues we are wanting to address, services and support we want to develop and deliver. Also how we are going to financially and practically sustain the organisation as well as growing and developing.
The meeting was opened by Marc Davies, our chair of trustees, who reflected very poignantly on the current social and economic climate and reminded us that in the midst of this we need to keep focussed on the work we do and the part we all play in making Sunshine & Smiles what it is … this is particularly resonant given the huge diversity of our families and we just want to reiterate that we are all part of, and welcome, in this amazing community and network of support.
If you follow the link below you can read our annual report which reflects a busy and successful period which we are continuing to build on… we hope you enjoy reading it.
We are also pleased to announce that Marc Davies and Jodie Barrow were both re-elected as Chair of Trustees and Trustee – Secretary, respectively, for a further term. Alongside Katie Kelly & Jonathan Astin they will comprise our Board of Trustees until our next Annual General Meeting in 2017.
Lastly, huge thanks to all of the trustees, our service delivery team, volunteers, supporters and all of our families for the time, energy, care and commitment that makes Sunshine & Smiles such a vibrant, supportive, resourceful and fantastic charity & organisation to be a part of.

Sunshine & Smiles Annual Report 2014-2015


Comments from the AGM and on the Annual Report

Lovely report. V impressed – well done to you all – Wendy Uttley, Down Syndrome Training & Support Service, Bingley
You must all be very proud – Angela McNulty – Special Educational Needs & Inclusion Team
Many thanks for the copy of the annual report.
It was very interesting to see the overview of your group’s work – what a lot you have undertaken and achieved!!  And fab photo’s, lots of fun been had too!!
Congratulations to everyone at Sunshine & Smiles, you have a highly committed group of people working purposefully to improve outcomes for families. – Janet Clark, Special Educational Needs & Inclusion Team
Fantastic report! – Pip Goff, Leeds Community Foundation
If you spare a couple of minutes please have a look at the Sunshine and Smiles annual report for the year ending 2015. This is a project the Foundation helped to developed. They have come a long way since they received their first community cash grant – Carlos Chavez – email to the Leeds Community Foundation Team
Thanks to all the trustees and those who spoke at the AGM tonight with such passion and drive, the annual report looks fantastic and as a family we are proud to part of the group  – Jill Williamson – parent
Thank you for all that you do – Sandeep Assi – parent

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.