Last year we were approached by The Rainbow Centre to form a community partnership. To be honest, we hadn’t really heard of The Rainbow Centre before but our Council team was invited to tour the centre and observe a class in session to help us to understand all that they do for the South coast.
The current purpose built centre in Fareham opened in April 2006 after the charity started in 1990 bouncing around several locations. As you walk into the building there are lots of colours and animals to greet you. In the hallway leading to the classrooms are pictures, trees and flowers. The pictures include captions of the most recent ‘milestone’ the student had achieved. For us what they see as ‘milestones’ we take for granted. Such things as ‘sat up by myself’, ‘took two steps’ and ‘brushed my hair’ are huge accomplishments to kids with Cerebral Palsy and adults with MS, Parkinson’s and victims of stroke.
There are two large classrooms with all sorts of toys and equipment used during the Conductive Education (CE) sessions. CE was developed in Hungary in 1945 and most of the Conductors, the professional who delivers CE, are trained in Hungary to deliver this training to help the students learn to perform everyday tasks. There is an observation room in between the classrooms to observe the sessions without intrusion but we were allowed to sit in the classroom during a Saturday morning session. The Conductor was challenging the children in the class to roll over on their own with the help of music and different sounds. We all felt a bit self-conscious sitting and staring at the kids as they practised their skills, especially since we are taught not to stare at people who are different to us.
But this is how they really drive home what happens during these sessions and how much they mean to the kids and families. There are even volunteers on hand to help to entertain the siblings while their parent and sibling are in class. The bit that really got us was that the Rainbow Centre received zero state funding for the therapy and support that they provide.
The fact that the CE techniques actually help to avoid invasive surgery and yet they still have to raise £45,000 per month to continue to offer classes to ensure the students have every chance of independence, for us was insanity. We left the centre that day with a new found appreciation for the impact they have on these families and how important the work of the Conductors is. So far we have raised money for the Rainbow Centre via raffle ticket sales, Great South Run donations and a recent abseiling fundraiser.
JCI Portsmouth member Natasha absailing for Rainbow Centre
We also put on an Easter Egg Hunt this year for the kids where the Easter bunny made a special appearance. One parent even said that ‘it was the best Easter Egg Hunt we’ve ever been to’.
JCI Portsmouth team with Mr Easter Bunny and their easter egg collection
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
We are asking Summerfest attendees to donate any unwanted clothes, home items and children’s toys to The Rainbow Centre to sell in one of their three charity shops on the south coast. In particular, we need:
- Ladies clothing (especially evening wear!)
- Household goods
- Bridal gowns
- Bridesmaid dresses
- CDs & DVDs
- Games and puzzles
- Children’s clothing & toys
It costs £45,000 a month to keep the centre running and every little bit helps. Thank you so much for your support.
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Soraya Bowen