Show your support for our Great North Runners

Show your support for our Great North Runners

On 9 September five supporters of Sunshine and Smiles, including the Service Manager, Ailith Harley-Roberts will be heading up north to Newcastle to run 13.1 miles in the Simplyhealth Great North Run.

Great North Run 2017Great North Run 2017Great North Run 2017

All of us at Sunshine and Smiles are always proud and grateful to anyone who endures an event to raise money for our charity, and although the Newcastle half marathon is a pretty route, it’s also very tough!

The following runners are below, along with their local giving pages. Anything you can donate to them to show your support would be very much appreciated.

Thank you again to our runners – and good luck on the day!

Ben Hughes

Caroline Byram

Greg Houfe

Ailith Harley-Roberts

Marcus Dearns

Leeds United join Football Session

Leeds United join Football Session

Tom Pearce

LUFC BadgeLUFC player Tom Pearce joined in at one of our Leeds United Foundation football camps as part of their ongoing relationship with Sunshine and Smiles.

The England Under-21 international got well and truly stuck into the action, as well as meeting the families and coaches at the Ramgarhia Sikh Sports Centre on Chapeltown Road.

LUTV were there to capture the fun, and Pearce told them “I’ve really enjoyed being here today and I was just happy to be asked down to get involved. The games we played were really good fun and it was great to see how competitive some of the kids were, although I think there might have been a bit of cheating going on.”

These football camps, aimed at age groups 4-11 years old, run every Thursday throughout the summer holidays. Want to join us? Click here to find out more!

Click the badge for full story!


We raised £400 bag packing

We raised £400 bag packing

M and S Bag PackWe are very pleased to be Moortown Marks & Spencer’s Charity of the Year for 2018 – 2019 and following on from their support with the book giveaway in July we thought we’d lend a hand and pack some of their customers shopping!

It was an incredibly successful day with the help of volunteers across Leeds getting involved, and not only did we raise awareness for Sunshine & Smiles, but we also collected £400 of donations!

Thank you so much to all the volunteers who spent their Saturday afternoon bagging up shopping, you were all brilliant!

Want to help next time? Follow us on Twitter to find out when the next charity day is!

Pack your bag – we’re going to M&S!

M&S Collaboration We are very pleased to be Moortown Marks & Spencer’s Charity of the Year for 2018 – 2019 and following on from their help with the book giveaway in July, it’s time for us to pack some bags!

This Saturday (25 August) we have a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness for Sunshine & Smiles and collect donations in return for bag packing at the Moortown store, from 10 am until 2 pm.

We already have people signed up but there’s still room for more if you’d like to be involved!

Please let us know if you could help for part or all of the day by either emailing with the duration of time you’ll be helping for, or you can turn up on the day if you’re feeling spontaneous!

See you Saturday, thank you!



Carers Leeds & Café 21

Cafe 21
Louise, Ailith, Lorna

Café 21 were delighted to be invited to provide the refreshments for Carers Leeds Family Fun Day on 1st August at Leeds Mencap.

A fabulous afternoon of music, crafts, games, biscuit decorating and so much more!

We loved being a part of it and it looked like all of the families attending had a great time too!

Thank you Carers Leeds!

National Citizen Service Partnership

Yard Sale - Stainbeck Community Hall
Yard Sale – Stainbeck Community Hall

This Summer has seen our 3rd partnership with a team taking part in the National Citizen Service.

The project aims to encourage young people aged 15 – 17 get involved in volunteering, build their own skills & confidence and work with a local community organisation to raise awareness and take on a day of social action.

This year Team Emeke visited us at our swimming session to find out about what Sunshine & Smiles does, learn more about our families and think of ways that they could help us.

We then had a planning meeting where we decided on the social action day to help us clear out our loft at Stainbeck Community Hall, tidy up the garden and hold a yard sale and some activities in the garden.

We had a really good clear out & tidy up and the team raised £100 from the Yard Sale which is fantastic!

Their last day was raising awareness & campaigning in the city centre which they did by handing out Sunshine & Smiles stickers, wearing our distinctive t-shirts and talk to people about the work we do!

Thank you Team Emeke and the National Citizen Service!

Early Development Groups start in September and there’s still time to sign up!

Early Development Group
Early Development Groups

We are very pleased to be able to start offering Early Development groups starting from September 2018.

Initially we will have two groups running on a Friday morning, on a fortnightly basis, there will be one group for children aged 12 – 18 months and one group for children aged 18 – 24 months.

We will be using tools, resources & techniques from See & Learn, the Early Years Developmental Journal, The Portage Model and linking with our Speech & Language therapists to ensure consistency & continuity.

The groups will be 1 hour of structured support & learning followed by 30 minutes of social time with snacks.

Our aim will be to develop more groups to include all pre-school age children in the longer term.

Please let us know if you would like a place for your child in either of these groups by emailing or ringing 07902 054355.

Sunshine & Smiles – Featured in The Week Junior

Sunshine & Smiles – Featured in The Week Junior

We were delighted that Sunshine & Smiles were featured in The Week Junior as their Charity of the Week!

The Week Junior is a national current affairs magazine for children & young people and encourages children to explore and understand the world around them.

Aiyana Harley-Roberts, sister to Thalia, wrote into the magazine to tell them about Sunshine & Smiles and her letter was chosen last week.

Thank you Aiyana, what a star you are!

World Down Syndrome Congress 2018

WDSC Glasgow
Lauren, Ruth, Ailith

On Friday 27th July our Speech & Language therapists, Ruth Mercer & Lauren Drake, and our Service Manager, Ailith Harley-Roberts, travelled to Glasgow for the final day of the 2018 World Down Syndrome Congress.

They were presenting at the congress to share the Sunshine & Smiles model of Speech & Language groups, one of our core pillars and a vital support to children & young people with Down syndrome. The presentation was very well received with many groups & professionals attending and asking questions.

It was also a day with so much to pack in – presentations & seminars on so many different subjects from people all over the world.

Highlights of the day were two talks by young women with Down syndrome, Kylie Scott & Olivia Hargroder, sharing their personal experiences and their determination for inclusion & accessibility across the world.

Our favourite quotes:

“Don’t make decisions about me, without me” – Kylie Scott

“All children are born optimistic” – Olivia Hargroder

We also saw talks on inclusion in school for children & young people with Down syndrome, sexual health & relationships and apps that are helping with cognitive assessments for children.

Ruth picked out a quote from the Inclusion talk that really stood out: “the support & adaptations we make for our children &young people with Down Syndrome have benefit for all students’

The day was overwhelmingly positive & affirming with so many people from around the world coming together to share expertise and experience.

We saw so much potential & energy and as Lauren said ‘an example of how society should be functioning’.

The closing speech by Brian Skotko summed up so well; we are a community and we are are all working & fighting for the same things, we need to continue to do this together to be as strong a force as possible to create & be the change we want to see in the world.

The next World Down Syndrome Congress will be held in Dubai in 2020.