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On 14 November 2018 our Senior Typesetter and Artworker, Sandeep Assi, was interviewed by BBC Look North in a report which focused on how funding from BBC Children in Need contributes towards the charity Sunshine and Smiles.
Sunshine and Smiles is a registered charity in Leeds that provides a support network for children and young people with Down syndrome and their families. The charity is parent led and aims to improve the lives and opportunities of children and young people with Down syndrome.
The charity provides regular family swimming sessions for children with Down syndrome and is highly regarded for the positive effect that it has on the families that attend.
Sand commented on how important it was to provide children with opportunities to strengthen themselves both socially and physically, as children who have Down syndrome commonly have low muscle tone called hypotonia.
From bake sales at school to donating toys, Sand and her two daughters, Ava and Jasmine, have regularly participated in and fundraised for Children in Need.
In the past Sand has used her sewing skills to create ‘magic bags’ which contain a selection of toys that each represent a nursery rhyme.
“The idea of this is that children develop skills such as sharing, turn taking, fine motor skills, making choices and counting skills, alongside singing songs and having fun!”
Sunshine and Smiles also offers speech and language therapy sessions, which Sand and her daughter Ava regularly attend. Early development groups are also held for younger children to which Sand often donates old toys that have helped her daughter with her learning when she was younger.
“Donating toys that are specific to the needs of children with Down syndrome means that other children can benefit from developing and learning through play.”
With all this amazing work, it was no wonder that Sunshine and Smiles was awarded a massive £20,000 by Children in Need. This will cover three years of fortnightly swimming sessions and will give the children plenty more opportunities to learn, grow and have fun in the water!
Well done to Sand and her daughters for all the amazing work they do for Sunshine and Smiles, and well done too to all at Design Portfolio who donated to Children in Need.