“We first came to the Smilers group here (Cafe 21). It’s a singing group with young adults. We did speech and language therapy as part of Sunshine & Smiles. From there, we decided to try Cafe 21. Roisin works alongside all the staff here and has grown in confidence so much. She loves it; I couldn’t be more proud of her. She’s made lots of friends. They’re all the same age and it’s nice to see them get reacquainted after all this time and it’s bonded their friendships even more.
Without the cafe, it would be very difficult for her to get any work experience, there just isn’t that opportunity, but she has the chance here. I can’t believe how well she works. As a mum, it’s lovely to see her flourish in this environment. I’ve seen the difference in her personality, she’s more upbeat and looks forward to working and she’s learnt so much. The journey for us has been very up and down, she has a lot of health problems but she keeps going: she will reach her full potential.”
Sunshine & Smiles supports children and young people with Down syndrome in Leeds. Their aim is to improve the lives of people with Down syndrome. With support from Leeds Community Foundation they have been able to offer a variety of activities such as support groups for new parents and develop their own social enterprise, Cafe 21, which gives young adults with Down syndrome the opportunity to gain work experience, customer service skills and learn about working in a hospitality environment.