Chair of Trustees and Founder of Swings & Smiles, Sian Cook, will be stepping down after more than 13 years. Sian had the idea for the charity in 2006 after her daughter Amy gave her the inspiration to provide children with special needs and disabilities a place that they would be able to go with their families and play.

By June 2007 the charity was created and the board of Trustees was in place. Swings & Smiles set about fundraising to build this centre and in April 2014 opened the doors at the Phoenix Resource Centre, subsequently moving in 2017 to a more suitable site, A Place to Play in Thatcham, West Berkshire. Since opening in 2014 Swings & Smiles has supported increasing numbers of families, and in 2018 had 4422 individual visits from families and provided 920 hours of support.

Tor Sandars will be taking over as Chair of Trustees and says “Sian has provided the most wonderful place to play for families with special needs children. Without her vision and determination families with special needs children in and around West Berkshire would not have a place to go to play together as a family that other children take for granted. The charity provides invaluable support in so many ways to the families and the numbers of families who access Swings & Smiles is growing on a daily basis. Sian will be an incredibly hard act to follow but I hope, as a team, we can build on what she has achieved so far and continue to support the families that need us.”

Sian will remain involved with the charity in her new role as Founder and Patron.