Happy 5th Birthday to Sunshine & Smiles

Happy 5th Birthday to Sunshine & Smiles

On November 20th 2013, Sunshine and Smiles – Leeds Down Syndrome Network registered as an official charity.

Initially we just had six families involved with us and over our first year we raised only £4,000.

Since then we have raised thousands more and are currently supporting over 130 children, young adults and their families in Leeds.

Thank you for all your support and encouragement, we couldn’t have made this happen without you.

Here’s our story…

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Get Christmas Ready with Sunshine and Smiles Gifts!

Get Christmas Ready with Sunshine and Smiles Gifts!

We have new Cafe 21 Tea Towels and a Sunshine and Smiles 2019 Calendar, plus much more! Find the ideal stocking fillers for your loved ones, while donating to charity.

Hand Made Christmas Cards

Group Christmas Cards






Every penny you spend today will go directly towards the vital support we offer to our children, young people and families; whether it is Speech & Language sessions, fruit and milk for our baby group, transport for families, or paying our trained staff to support families or help our young adults into training and work.

Click here to visit our shop!


Swap Your Toys Before Christmas!

Swap Your Toys Before Christmas!

TOYSwap Your Toys Before Christmas!On Sunday December 2nd join us for the first ever Sunshine & Smiles’s Toy Swap!

A toy swap is a cashless alternative to finding new toys for your kids while helping to reduce waste. At the same time, you have the opportunity to clear out any of your own unwanted toys. With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, we thought this would be a great time for this event.

The toy swap will be held at Stainbeck Community Hall from 2-4pm and there will be refreshments and snacks available at a pay as you feel rate 🙂

Thank You to Our Trustees!

Thank You to Our Trustees!

This week marks Trustees week (12 – 16 November); an annual event that showcases the fantastic work that trustees do for their charities, communities and the sector. Events all around the country will celebrate the achievements of trustees, as well as highlight opportunities for you to get involved with a local charity or voluntary organisation at board level.

In this week we would like to thank our Trustees; Marc, Jonathan, and Katie, as well as all our previous Trustees from the past 5 years. We would like to thank you for your time, as well as your invaluable expertise, knowledge and governance. Your guidance and support has been a huge part of the growth of Sunshine and Smiles and from all the staff and our families we want you to know how much we appreciate you, not only in this week, but every day. Thank you.

Another Day to Make a Difference for Lloyds Bank

Another Day to Make a Difference for Lloyds Bank

Thank you so much to the volunteers at Lloyds Bank for clearing and cutting back our front and back gardens, not forgetting mending the fences!

Every year Lloyds Banking Group give an opportunity to their colleagues to spend at least one day volunteering for a charity or community project of their choice. This year, two of Lloyds departments chose Sunshine and Smiles, and this was their second day fixing up Stainbeck Community Hall.

This volunteering programme is hoping to deliver 2.3 million hours by 2020 and have already reached 1 million, and we are so unbelievably grateful that they chose us as one of their charities.

Big thanks to every volunteer from the Lloyds Banking Group!


How Children in Need Help Us

How Children in Need Help Us

Last week we were lucky enough to feature on both Radio Leeds and Look North, and it was all because the UK were raising money for BBC Children in Need. After the very successful Appeal Show on BBC One, it has been confirmed that over £50m has been raised for children all across Great Britain, and some of those young people are in our sessions at Sunshine and Smiles.

We were on the radio!

Richard Stead from BBC Radio Leeds was talking all things Children in Need on the Breakfast Show on Tuesday 13 November, including throwing live to Oly Woodcock who joined our Service Manager Ailith Harley-Roberts at Bramley Baths.

The Community led Bramley Baths, who have recently secured a £500,000 eco-hub investment have been working closely with Sunshine and Smiles since 2015 when we began running our regular swimming sessions.

The Edwardian Grade II Listed building makes for a lovely atmosphere for our sessions, where families who have children with Down Syndrome can swim for as long or a short as they like.

Following on from popular demand in 2015 we decided, along with Bramley Baths, to advance our classes and include one-to-one swimming lessons. In 2016 we submitted a Children in Need funding application and have now been able to secure swimming facilities and lessons up until 2020.

bbc radio leedsAilith spoke to reporter Oly Woodcock about how the Children in Need funding has helped Sunshine and Smiles, ahead of the charity’s 39th Appeal show on Friday 16 November on BBC1.

Thank you to Children in Need for your support and enabling our swimming sessions, and thank you BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Look North for inviting us on your shows.

If you would like to find out more about the sessions or to book a 1:1 teaching lesson please email: ailith@sunshineandsmiles.org.uk


Mears Foundation Donate £1,000

A BIG thank you to Jill Lund, Mum to Pippa, and the Mears Foundation for an amazing £1000 donation to go towards running our groups & activities.

mearsWho are the Mears Foundation?

  • The Mears Foundation is the independent charitable arm of Mears Group.
  • The Foundation is a grant-making trust that seeks to harness the goodwill, talents and skills within Mears Group to beneft charities that provide practical help and support to vulnerable people.
  • The Mears Foundation exists to help improve the lives of vulnerable or disadvantaged people in the UK and abroad through practical help, support and intervention.


Feeding Research Project – Can You Help?

Feeding Research Project – Can You Help?
Ríon O’Farrell-Walsh, a trainee clinical psychologist at the University of Leeds, is completing her doctoral thesis on the infant feeding experiences of mums with children with Down syndrome. She is interested in exploring mums’  feeding experiences and their reflections on their well-being during this period.  At present, there is not much research that explores maternal feeding experiences.


Ríon is hoping that her study will bridge this gap, and facilitate a greater general understanding of this area. She would like to invite any mums who have a child with Down syndrome between 0-3 years to take part in the study.


Taking part involves participating in an interview with Ríon, in a location that best works for you. The interviews usually last around 50-60 minutes. As infants with Down syndrome can be fed in lots of different ways,  she is interested in hearing about any feeding method. 


Anyone interested is welcome to contact Ríon at umrofw@leeds.ac.uk or on 07561099156 for further information.


Thank you 😊