Rain doesn’t stop play at centre’s family open day

The Macarthur family from Portsmouth - mum Martine and dad Andy with children, from left, Marla, two, Daisy, four, who uses the Rainbow Centre, and Harry, eight Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160846-5)
The Macarthur family from Portsmouth - mum Martine and dad Andy with children, from left, Marla, two, Daisy, four, who uses the Rainbow Centre, and Harry, eight Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160846-5)
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A FUN day was had by all to celebrate the vital work a charity does to help people with disabilities.

The Rainbow Centre, in Fareham, held an afternoon party at its Palmerston Drive base on Saturday to raise awareness of the work it does and to thank its supporters and volunteers.

Scott Lyons and his son Finlay, seven 
Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (160846-4)

Scott Lyons and his son Finlay, seven Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160846-4)

The charity teaches a system called conductive education therapy to children with cerebral palsy and adults with a stroke, MS, Parkinson’s, adult cerebral palsy, or head injury.

Scores of people packed out the centre and enjoyed activities such as facepainting, dog shows, football and raffles, as well as live music.

CEO Lara Bull said: ‘It’s a brilliant way of letting the community see us and see what we do to raise awareness. We had a fantastic day, despite the thunder, lightning and downpours. We had dogs shows, raccoons, everything, it’s been brilliant.’

One family enjoying themselves were the McArthurs, from Portsmouth.

Emily Dobbins-Dale, left, her mum Karen Dobbins from Fareham, and their dog Maisie.
Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160846-2)

Emily Dobbins-Dale, left, her mum Karen Dobbins from Fareham, and their dog Maisie. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160846-2)

Mum Martine was with dad Andy, and their three children – Harry, eight, Daisy, four, and Marla, two – plus grandmother Jenny Martin and dog Tilly.

Daisy was born 12 weeks premature and she has cerebral palsy. Martine said that in the eight months that Daisy has been coming to the centre, she has been sitting, standing and walking by herself.

‘It is fully down to the centre,’ she said.

‘All the staff are so friendly and helpful. They don’t only support the children, but the whole family as well.’

Recruits from nearby HMS Collingwood volunteered their time to help run the day.

Among them was engineering technician Liam Dickson, 25, from Ayr in Scotland. He has been at the Fareham naval base since November,

He said: ‘It has been a brilliant day.

‘It has been rewarding to give something back.’

Last year, the Rainbow Centre celebrated its 25th anniversary.

In 2014, it was thrown into financial crisis and warned that it might not be able to continue. This sparked a huge fundraising effort from the community, raising more than £175,000 in eight weeks, and the centre was saved.

Mrs Bull said the centre had been through another ‘tough year’ and encouraged people to donate.

Go to rainbowcentre.org for more.