Care centre boss in plea for money to keep it running

GENTLE CARE Vicky Cleaver 35 with her two-year-old  son Archie and Mariann Balla, a conductor teacher, helping Archie to walk. Picture: Paul Jacobs (14901-7)
GENTLE CARE Vicky Cleaver 35 with her two-year-old son Archie and Mariann Balla, a conductor teacher, helping Archie to walk. Picture: Paul Jacobs (14901-7)
Police at the scene near Waddesdon 810054fd-364c-4ef5-84d3-89d35d70

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PARENTS of children who use a support centre facing closure have made a desperate plea for donations to help keep it running.

The Fareham-based Rainbow Centre will shut its doors after Easter unless £150,000 can be raised to keep it afloat.

The centre helps children with disorders, primarily cerebral palsy and other motor skills problems,

It also supports adults recovering from stroke and head injuries and people with Parkinson’s.

Debbie Little, of Whiteley, said it would be a disaster if the centre was forced to close.

Her two-year-old daughter Matilda has quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

Debbie said: ‘The centre is a central part of her development and she’s really improved since she’s been coming here.

‘It’s crucial that we do what we can to save the Rainbow Centre.’

Donna Magee, of North End in Portsmouth, said the centre was a great help to her one-year-old son Lennon.

She said: ‘Please donate, even if it’s only a pound, as every pound helps.

‘It would be very sad for a lot of families if it had to close down.’

Lennon has epilepsy, is blind and has fluid on his brain and spine.

‘Within two weeks of being here he learned how to roll, he can sit better and now he can take steps with walkers.’

Vicky Cleaver, of Fratton, takes her two-and-a-half-year-old son Archie to the centre three times a week.

‘He’s a diagnosed quadriplegic but since he’s been coming here he’s learned to sit up and take steps with a walker.

‘Before he couldn’t even eat, he could only take milk, but now he’s learning to which is life-changing.’

Centre director Lara Bull said: ‘We need a serious injection of money.

‘If we don’t get that we won’t be able to open after the Easter break.’

The centre supports 40 children and 37 adults from as far afield as Surrey, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

Ms Bull said: ‘We are literally the only conductive education centre on the south coast.

‘If we’re gone, parents would have to take their children to Billinghurst or Aylesbury or London.

Ms Bull said the centre cost £47,500 a month to run, which came exclusively from fundraising.

‘We don’t receive any government funding at all so community support has been our absolute lifeblood,’ she said.

‘We’ve managed to get through the recession but as with many companies and charities, we used up our cash reserves in the crisis and we’ve been living hand-to-mouth since then.’

To donate, call 01329 289500 or visit rainbowcentre.org or via text message. Text RBOW21 £2/£5/£10 to 70070.

COMMUNITY NEEDS TO SUPPORT CENTRE, SAYS COUNCILLOR

THE leader of Fareham Borough Council has said the community needs to rally together and support the Rainbow Centre which is facing closure.

The centre, on Palmerston Drive, in Fareham, will be forced to close after Easter unless it can find £150,000.

And Councillor Sean Woodward said the community needs to show their support for the ‘fantastic centre’ which helps children with cerebral palsy and other disorders.

He said: ‘I have worked extremely hard with the centre of the past few years and I was saddened to hear it could close.

‘It is a fantastic centre and the council will be working hard to see how they can help.

‘Over the past years, the Rainbow Centre has got small amounts of money from the council through the mayor’s fundraisers and events like that.

‘But the whole community now needs to rally together and support the centre.

‘I will be meeting with them to discuss their options.’