THE OFFICIAL OPENING

On Friday 19th May we officially opened our play facility for families with special needs children at A Place to Play, Lower Way Thatcham. The opening event was attended by many long-standing supporters as well as representatives from local businesses, a lot of whom gave up their time free of charge to help us with our move.

Sian Cook said: “We had begun to outgrow the Phoenix Resource Centre and needed more space including outdoor and to be able to increase our opening times. Our potential demand is increasing year on year and the Lower Way building offers a good, secure outdoor space. It’s very important for the children who come to us to be able to enjoy outside play so the new base is perfect for us. Our thanks go to all those companies and individuals who helped us with the move.”
Companies who helped with the move include:
A Brush Above The Rest; Arena Security; Buildbase; Bonkers Play; Calco; David Wilson Homes; Floorcraft; The Freemasons; Grundon; ITQ; Mercedes; Marshalls Chartered Surveyors; MFG; Moore Blatch Solicitor; Opemed; Rapid Clean; Russell Evans Chartered Surveyors; Scofell; Service Master; SpaceKraft; Westronics;
Following the Open Evening, there was a weekend of action-packed fun. Saturday afternoon saw Swings & Smiles host a Harry Potter Themed Grand Opening for all its families with 106 people attending.

MAY FAIR SUCCESS

On 30th April the Royal Oak in Ecchinswell hosted the village May Fair for the 4th consecutive year. The event was a great success and drew in crowds from far and wide. There was a host of different activities on offer and everyone had a fantastic time. Fortunately, the rain held off all day.

The event raised an amazing £2,500 for us and we are extremely grateful to Chris and Laura from the Royal Oak, along with all the Committee members, who worked so hard to make this such a success. It is thanks to support like this that we can continue to provide our invaluable service for families with special needs children. Thank You.

Curry & Quiz Success

The Hilton Newbury North hosted yet another wonderful quiz night

The team at The Hilton did us proud yet again and raised over £950 in the process. We are delighted that Roland Gardner and his team came away with the honours of winning as well having the fewest team members on the night – no mean feat! Thank you to everyone at The Hilton for making it such a success and to all those of you who came along on the evening and supported the event.

Candlelight Carols

Swings & Smiles’ annual Candlelight Carol Service took place at St Mark’s Church in Englefield on Thursday 8th December.

 

The event was attended by patrons Chris Tarrant OBE, Mary Cameron and Richard Benyon MP. Victoria Fishburn, High Sheriff of Berkshire and Allen Sinclair from the BBC were also in attendance and gave readings.

It was a wonderful occasion with Swings & Smiles children providing some of the music as well as Englefield Primary School Choir.

A Golfing Triumph

Donnington Valley Golf Club Host our Annual Golf Day

A huge thanks must go to The Vineyard Group and Donnington Valley Golf Club for hosting our Annual Golf Day on 30th September. 14 teams took to the greens on a beautiful sunny day and fun was had by all. Thanks to the generosity of The Vineyard Group and the participants an amazing £2,500 was raised which will go towards our permanent site for which we are busy fundraising.

The Power of Pavlova

Cote Restaurants donate an amazing £65,759 through sales of pavlova

Throughout September, all the proceeds from the sale of Cote’s monthly special dessert of seasonal Pavlova have been donated to Swings & Smiles, A staggering total of £65,759 has been raised through this initiative. Sian Cook, Founder of Swings & Smiles was thrilled when Alex Scrimgeour, CEO of Cote Restaurants, suggested the promotion after hearing about the charity’s need to fund the build of its new facility. At least £450k needs to be raised and so the incredible £65,759 raised throughout all 80 Cote Restaurants will make a significant contribution towards reaching this target. She said: ‘We are overwhelmed by Cote’s generosity. It has been an incredible fundraising initiative and we are so grateful to everyone at Cote and their customers for their kindness and generosity in getting us well and truly on our way to reaching our goal and establishing our long term future.’

Quiztastic

The Hilton Newbury North came up trumps yet again with the hosting of a fantastic quiz night.

It was the first time The Hilton have hosted a quiz at their Newbury North hotel. Sam Farmer, Manager, did a sterling job as compere and the questions were just the right balance for most people on the night!
Our very own Laura Lewis and Sara East and their team members named the ‘Quiztina Aguilera Team’ came first for the second time running.
A total of more than £525 was raised which will go towards equipping our new sensory room at our new site once this is finalised.
Thank You to everyone at The Hilton who made it such a fun evening – yet again! Not to mention the delicious curry and chocolate brownies.

Super Summer

The six week holidays have flown past at Swings & Smiles with us offering short breaks, outreach sessions and lots of family play at the centre.

We’ve had a great time travelling about in our van, kindly funded by Global Make Some Noise. Swings & Smiles – Out & About has seen us travel around the South of England delivering sensory play sessions in Witney, RAF Benson and Bushey in Hertfordshire.
Our short break sessions have also been popular, we have provided 26 hours of support for families at this sometimes stressful time of year. Children that attended these sessions did so without their parents or siblings and took part in cooking, art and lots of playing.
For the team at Swings & Smiles the summer holidays has been full of super families (new and old), masses of fun and some fabulous memories. We’re already looking forward to next year!

RUNNING FOR SWINGS & SMILES

Last month, Daniel Reeves, took part in a gruelling challenge to raise money for Swings & Smiles. He undertook the ultimate test of stamina by competing in the Marathon Des Sables. In total, he ran 4 marathons and one ultra marathon in six days in the blistering heat of the Sahara Desert.

 

Sian commented: “Dan raised a staggering £7,422 and the money he raised will help us continue to support the families who come to Swings & Smiles and also give us the opportunity to reach out and support many more families who benefit from what we can offer. We receive no funding from our local authority and are totally reliant on the generosity of people like Dan. Well done and thank you Dan!”

Christmas Comes Early!

Our association with Downe House School goes back many years now and they have offered us support in so many different ways from volunteering to busking on the streets of Newbury.

The most recent support was when they presented us with a cheque for more than £1,000 as a result of their fundraising activities at their Christmas Fair. The Castle School, Riding for the Disabled and Mary Hare School also received support from Downe House.