It’s been a whole year….

It’s been a whole year….

…. since we became a registered charity!!

And what a year it has been…

In the last few months it feels like we have been doing lots of fundraising… and also asking you to vote for, or donate to us, quite a lot … but thanks to all your support in so many different ways we end this first year as a charity in the wonderful position where we know we can continue to run all our groups and activities for the next twelve months!!

We know there is still much more to be done and we will, of course, be thinking about what other areas of work we can develop and looking at other ways of continuing to fund the organistion to ensure it becomes truly sustainable in the long term.

TreeMany, many people contribute to the success of Sunshine and Smiles … our trustees – Lorna Gilbert, Jodie Barrow and Katie Kelly, our committee members – Kath White, Sharron Cook, Steph Ward, Sarbjit Kaur and Ailith Harley-Roberts (some of whom are also sessional staff) … our wonderful volunteers – Kath Harmer, Kirsty Thorpe, Rachel Cradock, Cat Dawson and Doreen Ward… and all of the families who come to the sessions and support the groups… many of whom have also undertaken their own fabulous fundraising for us…. also other agencies and professionals who recommend us, nominate us for awards and who have generously given us funding… we really can’t thank everyone enough as without all of those people Sunshine and Smiles would not have grown and developed so wonderfully over these last twelve months!

Since last November:

Over 60 children and young people with Down syndrome, and their families, have accessed 1495 hours of group sessions and activities, 25 children and young people have accessed monthly Speech and Language sessions, we co-delivered the Tell it Right, Start it Right training day with the Down syndrome association for 60 health professionals, we arranged 4 consultation sessions with parents and carers regarding the new Children and Families Act and also changes to care pathways within Leeds healthcare services, we arranged a First Aid course for parents and carers, we have created a garden space with volunteers from Lloyds Banking Group, we have delivered raising awareness workshops to childminders, nurseries, schools and the donkey sanctuary, we have offered individual support to families including home visits, hospital visits, support with completing forms and referrals or signposting for other support…. plus ongoing fundraising activities and applications to ensure we can continue to do all this and more!!

Thank you to everyone who is on this journey with us!!

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Fantastic News – Charity Partnerships

Fantastic News – Charity Partnerships

Over the last few weeks we have been hugely lucky to have been selected to become a partnership charity for the next twelve months by two fanastic, locally based businesses.

IPF LogoWe were nominated by Leeds Community Foundation to International Personal Finance and after being shortlisted to a group of four charities Steph Ward and Ailith Harley-Roberts made a presentation to the IPF staff team about Sunshine and Smiles and how the partnership would benefit Sunshine and Smiles but also how IPF staff could get more involved with voluntary work and fundraising … we also had a gorgeous slideshow with so many amazing words and pictures that many of the group contributed to!

We were delighted that we won the most votes and IPF will be working in partnership with, and fundraising for, us for the next year.

They already have a team signed up for the Three Peaks Challenge in June 2015!!

Taylors of HarrogateWe were also approached by Taylors of Harrogate to submit an application for their ‘Charity of the Year’ programme. We submitted our application and the staff at Taylors then had to choose from a number of charities … again, we are delighted to say that we were chosen and again we will be working alongside Taylor’s to raise funds for the organisation for the next twelve months.

Taylor’s are really keen to arrange different fundraising events and they will keep us posted about what and when they are as it would be fantastic if some of us could go along to support and help out too!

We also need to say a huge thank you to Mo, Sarah, Bobby & Billy Burn … without their connection to Taylor’s we wouldn’t have been asked to submit an application and Mo has championed our cause among her colleagues tirelessly … Mo, Tom Dobson, John Hennighan and all the staff at Taylor’s also gave a very warm welcome to Ailith and Thalia when they went to visit to discuss the charity partnership in more detail and we are really looking forward to working with them over the next year!


Christmas Cards!!

Christmas Cards!!

We are really pleased to say that we will have some Sunshine and Smiles Christmas Cards for sale very, very soon!!

We had a fabulous trip to Fingertips Art Studio in Farsley a couple of weeks ago and lots of children and young people made some gorgeous Christmas card designs… we photographed them all and made that into Christmas cards and they are just with the printer at the moment!

Many thanks to Sarah Burn (Billy’s Mum) who put us in touch with her friend Lindsey from tig printing who are printing them all for us free of charge!

There will be packs of 23 individual designs at £3.99 per pack (all proceeds to Sunshine and Smiles) … and here are some pictures of us enjoying the session and a sneak preview of the designs!!

You will be able to buy them at our groups or you can email and arrange to pay by cheque, BACS or Paypal … we will send you the details when you order.

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What have we been up to!

What have we been up to!

It’s been a busy few months and we’re sorry that we haven’t been managing to get regular updates out … so here is a round up of a few of the activities we have been doing!!

In September Skelton Grange did a fabulous session in the garden for us … creating bug hotels, making mud masks, finding lots of creepy crawlies to investigate … thanks to Chris from Skelton Grange.. it was a great day!!

In October we had the marvellous Shabang! come to entertain us at a fun filled family session of music, songs and theatre! It was great to see so many people there and everyone had a fantasic time! Shabang! also have a wonderful 2015 calendar for sale via their website … go and buy one today!!

October 2014 067We were also very lucky to be able to thank a number of very special people, in person, for their fundraising efforts for us: Debbie and Steve Liley and all of their friends and family, Lisa Seaton and the Waddington’s Wanderers 3 Peaks team and Raymond Lynas from the Leeds Masonic Charity…. thank you again to all of you … the groups would not be sustainable without the amazing support of people like you!

October 2014 062 Lisa and Sharron October 2014 058In November we took two groups to see Mimika Theatre performing ‘Landscapes’ …. A theatre of remarkable visual effects and transformations all set inside a beautiful calico dome, ‘Landscapes’ took us on a journey around the globe absorbing the atmosphere, movements, rhythms and sounds of four contrasting areas of the natural world – desert, sea, rainforest and the Antarctic. The groups ranged in age from 6 months to 20 years and everyone really enjoyed the performances … and meeting the puppets…. thank you Mimika Theatre!

Mimika Fish Mimika penguin