World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated all over the globe on 21st March to raise awareness and encourage inclusion and opportunity.
We celebrate on this day because every person who has Down Syndrome is born with a third copy of chromosome 21.
Sunshine & Smiles was set up in 2011 and became an official charity in 2013. Our aim is to offer support for families who have a child or young person with Down Syndrome and to give everyone the opportunity to grow and achieve.
Each year we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, not only to take part in the global awareness campaign but to celebrate all we are doing on a local level, here in Leeds.
Last year we ran a pilot, pop up Café in Headingley. This milestone enabled our young adults to learn skills such as barista training, customer services & gain food safety qualifications, as well as informing the public about what we do here at the charity. It was a crazy week full of excitement and prospect, but also gave us the hope and desire to try to make Cafe 21 a permanent fixture in Leeds!
A year on from then and we now have our very own coffee shop and gallery, 21 Co. set in the heart of Headingley, for and run by people who have Down Syndrome.
This has been our biggest project to date, and although we are still finding our feet, we hope this shift in “normality” encourages others to be more inclusive.
On 21st March 2019 we will be extending our opening hours at 21 co. to invite you to share a day of celebration. We want to reach out to organisations who are interested in offering opportunities to people with learning disabilities. Only 17% of people who have a learning disability are in paid employment in the UK, and if we can encourage other companies to be more inclusive in our city, then we can hope others will follow too.
We would love to see you on 21st March, come and join us! 🌞😀
Made with Music is a charity based in Leeds who specialise in providing accessible live music experiences for families and young people. They encourage everyone to join in to allow each individual to enjoy the personal and social benefits singing brings to a group.
Made with Music invites you to come and sing with them at 21 Co. on Wednesdays from 10:30 – 11:45 am for their new inter-generational singing sessions. It is open to all ages and works on a pay as your feel basis, with the opportunity to purchase coffee and cake from the café.
How to get your ticket
Book online – www.ticketsource.co.uk/made-with-music Call – 07725 041601 Limited spaces are available
In our Shop and Café, 21 Co. we showcase and sell cards, paintings, pottery, and lots more which have been made by local artists and makers. For every purchase made in our shop, you will be contributing to independent designers, and also donating to Sunshine and Smiles – Leeds Down Syndrome Network.
Our newest addition is a print of Headingley, Leeds made by Richard Locket, and it features 21 co.!
The first 5 we had in stock sold out in the first week, but we have ordered some more and will be available to buy and order from Friday 22 February.
Thanks again Richard for including us in your print, we love it!
If you missed the video that broadcast this week on ITV, then click on the link below to see what happened when we made it onto a national TV show.
We couldn’t believe it when we were asked if This Morning could venture up to Leeds to do a story on our new Shop & Café, and with excitement came nerves! As a small charity we try our best to raise awareness of why we’re offering a service in Leeds to support families who have a child with Down Syndrome, but we weren’t sure if we were ready for national coverage. However, the team who came up to film were lovely and our inbox hasn’t stopped pinging since the feature went out!
We want to say a huge thank you to This Morning for sharing our story, and also to every person behind all the lovely messages we’ve recently received, it means so much to know that people are cheering us on.
Thank you so much to David and Dilys Astin who popped in with their cheque after organising the Sunshine & Smiles Benefit Concert. They raised over £3,000 on 2nd February!!
A huge thank you to the Headingley Voices, Sound Company, Free Range A Capella, and Harissa and Roger Harington for making the evening so magical, and thank you for inviting us to bring along our pop up Café 21 to serve our delicious cake, teas & coffees to everyone at the interval.
We can’t thank you enough for choosing to raise funds for our charity, and thank you to all the people who came along to listen!
We are very pleased to announce that due to the popularity of the Sunshine Football Club sessions we are now going to have two groups!
Juniors are ages 4 to 9 years old
Intermediate group is 9 to 16 years old
We will hold the junior group on a separate Sunday to the intermediate sessions starting after Easter. All sessions will still be 10am-11am at Football World, and Mark and Simon will be the coaches at both sessions.
It’s nearly 3 weeks since we opened our Shop and Café, 21 Co. and we can’t quite believe the amount of support we’ve received.
We want to reach out and thank everyone who has been a part of our journey so far, whether it’s a donation, volunteering, or popping in to see how we’re doing. It all means so much. Not forgetting the amount of coverage we’ve received locally, nationally, and internationally on radio, TV, and online.
The idea of offering young adults who have Down Syndrome opportunities to gain work experience had always been a distant dream of ours, one we didn’t think we’d be able to achieve within 5 years of becoming a charity. This is only the beginning of something great, and we only hope that we can continue to develop our café and to ensure other young adults who have Down Syndrome are given the same opportunities.
Thank you so much…
Schroders Real Estate Investment Trust, Wesleyan Foundation, St Chad’s Parish Fund, Wades Charity, Anton Jurgens Trust, Sir George Martin Trust, Cielo Coffee Roasters, Now Then Sunshine, Ark Display, Headingley Development Trust, Phoenix & Wolfe Accountancy, Wendy Jones-Blackett, Leeds Live, Metro, The Independent, Sky News, BBC Yorkshire, North Leeds Mumbler, Yorkshire Evening Post, Homestyle UK, CNN, Coffee House Magazine, Earth, Wit & Style Magazine, and This Morning.
How did it happen?
Since our Café 21 pop up at Carousel in March last year we have been looking for a long-term venue to have our very own shop and more importantly; offer work experience and training opportunities to our young adults who have Down Syndrome. We are extremely excited for this next chapter, and we invite you to join us on this journey. Not only will this be a great hub for our families too, but an opportunity to raise funds for the charity also.
Ailith Harley-Roberts, service manager at Sunshine & Smiles said,
National statistics show that only 17 per cent of all adults with a learning disability are in paid employment. Clearly, it can be difficult for the young people we support to get the work experience and training they need to secure jobs.