Green Green Grass of Englefield

On 8th July 2018 we were very lucky to be chosen as the charity partner for a special Tom Jones concert held in the beautiful setting of Englefield Estate.

It was a scorcher of a day but the team kept on smiling while they scanned tickets and collected money in the buckets. We even got to enjoy a boogie to some of Tom’s biggest hits. We were absolutely chuffed to raise £638.27, which we couldn’t have done without such a hardworking team of lovely volunteers!

Super Fundraising from CDK

The lovely people at CDK Global were very busy fundraising for Swings & Smiles in June!

They raised a brilliant £1500 during ‘Connect Week’ at their office in Hungerford by holding competitions, raffles and a huge cake sale. And on top of that they made a very generous donation of £4000 to Swings & Smiles as well. A great big thank you to everyone involved!

A Trip to the Farm

We were very lucky to be invited for a visit to Selfs Farm in Faccombe by The Country Trust Hampshire on a very sunny Wednesday afternoon in June.

The children got to see sheep being sheared and stroke some baby lambs, sit in the driver’s seat of a tractor and learn all about farming grains – they even made flour by hand! The highlight though has to be the lovely working dogs and the children getting to try their hand at a bit of dog training. It was a wonderful afternoon out, a big thank you to everyone who made it possible!

A Sad Loss

It is incredibly sad that one of our first patrons, Peter Baker, passed away in December 2017.

We have come a long way over the past decade and received immense support from Peter over the years. He was a dedicated and talented patron and is sorely missed.

Opening our Outdoor Area

We were delighted to officially open our fabulous new outdoor area in March.

Families can now enjoy our fully accessible swings, mini golf course, an in-ground trampoline suitable for wheelchairs and a slide with ramp. All of this as well as our interactive sensory garden, picnic area and a den especially for siblings. Our official opening was attended by lots of Swings & Smiles families who enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea from Castle Hospitality and Catering Enterprise.

Candlelight Carol Service

Swings & Smiles’ annual Candlelight Carol Service took place at St Mark’s Church in Englefield on Sunday 3rd December

The event was attended by patrons Chris Tarrant OBE, Mary Cameron and Richard Benyon MP. Michelle from the Matt & Michelle Breakfast Show on Heart FM and Laura Lewis, our Charity Director were also in attendance and gave readings.
It was a wonderful occasion with around 200 people present. The Castle School Choir, Englefield Primary School Choir and some pupils from Downe House all gave lovely performances.
A big thank you to Crown Water and Coffee, Warings Bakery and Sainsburys for supplying the refreshments and our sponsors WW Giles and Donnington New Homes.

SWINGS & SMILES SAW IT COMING!

We were today presented with £1000 from Psychic and Spiritual Awakenings.

Psychic and Spiritual Awakenings is a group that runs in Newbury and they chose us to be their chosen charity for 2017. They raised the money through a number of events that they have run this year and a large raffle.

They presented the cheque to us at our Mini Morning session – a playgroup that runs every Monday for our families.

The money will go towards our new outdoor play area that will hopefully be open in the next couple of months.

All Golf Swings & Smiles at Donnington Valley

On Friday 29th September 17 teams participated in the Swings & Smiles Charity Golf Day at Donnington Valley Golf Club, which was kindly sponsored by Infiniti Newbury (www.infiniticars.co.uk) and The Vineyard Group

It was an early tee off and the weather definitely did not want to play ball but a few drops of rain did not stop what turned out to be a fantastic day of golf.
The winning team was the combination of DHL and Dixons.
Donnington Valley Hotel hosted a fabulous three course lunch after which an auction was held and everyone got into the spirit of giving.
Over £3,600 was raised for Swings & Smiles. We would like to say a huge thank you to The Vineyard Group and Donnington Valley for hosting an amazing day, to Infiniti for sponsoring the event and of course to everyone who played and supported us on the day. Your enthusiasm for not only the game but also the charity is overwhelming. Thank you all.

Working Together

We are proud to have joined the Disabled Children’s Partnership – a growing coalition of more than 50 organisations – campaigning for improved health and social care for disabled children, young people and their families in England.

Research shows that 43% of the British public don’t know anyone who is disabled and that 97% of parents with a disabled children do not believe the public understands the challenges they face every day.
The campaign, Secret Life of Us developed in close partnership with parents – looks to change this.

It reveals the parts of their lives that most people simply do not see – bringing to life the realities of the challenges disabled children, young people and their families face when living a life many of us take for granted. By being a part of this, we hope to open the eyes of the public to the difficulties faced by families on a day-to-day basis, removing the barriers to people being able to relate to the lives of disabled children. For more information visit here.

Watch this space for more information about how you can get involved.

Double Donation from DoubleTree

We had a wonderful surprise last week when a team from Double Tree by Hilton Newbury North arrived to present us with a cheque.

We received an amazing donation of £1,474 which was the money raised from the past two quiz evenings – both of which were great fun and a huge success.
Watch this space for another quiz later this year.