Celebration held as Fareham’s Rainbow Centre stays open

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THERE were smiles all round as a charity celebrated smashing through its appeal target with a party.

Eight weeks ago, the Rainbow Centre in Fareham issued an urgent plea for funds.

AB Jamie-Lee McGuiness (left) and AB Ashley Speke (right) with Finlay Lyons who had just had his face painted. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (141767-6730)

AB Jamie-Lee McGuiness (left) and AB Ashley Speke (right) with Finlay Lyons who had just had his face painted. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (141767-6730)

The charity, which supports children with cerebral palsy and adults with CP, MS, Parkinson’s, head injuries or stroke, said if it did not raise £150,000, it would have to close.

A flurry of fundraising activities happened, the community rallied round and now £175,500 has been raised.

A party was held at the centre on Saturday to thank their supporters.

Centre director Lara Bull said: ‘We launched the crisis appeal as we stood on the edge of a precipice.

‘Everyone rallied together and we now have £175,500 and are ending our financially year with £154,000 in the bank, which we could only have dreamt us a few months ago. So many people have donated so generously, this was our way of thanking them.’

Many families were at the party, including Vicky Cleaver, 35, from Fratton, and her son Archie, two.

Archie was born with cerebral palsy in four limbs, blind and with epilepsy.

Mrs Cleaver said she would be lost without the centre, as it has given them support and helped Archie to have a better quality of life by teaching him how to sit properly and eat.

Mrs Cleaver said: ‘I don’t know what we would do without it. You can ask anyone here and they will all tell you the same story, it is an amazing centre.’

Haanagh Smith, from Whiteley, was at the party with her family. Her four-year-old son Reuben was born with CP, but is about to start a mainstream school in September, something Mrs Smith credits to the hard work and dedication of the staff at the Rainbow Centre.

‘It was a big shock to hear of the crisis appeal,’ she said.

‘I felt like our world had been broken because of the massive amount of support they have given us. They have brought Reuben forward in his development so much.

‘They have worked so incredibly hard, not just throughout the crisis appeal but throughout the year. It’s nice to be here today to say thank you to the community and the businesses and everybody who have helped them to achieve their target.’

All the stalls and activities at the party were donated by community groups and business, and sailors from nearby HMS Collingwood were on hand to make sure things ran smoothly.

HMS Collingwood Captain Steve Dainton said: ‘Lots of our sailors were keen to help such a worthwhile cause that is on our doorstep.’

Mrs Bull said that the centre, which costs £52,000 per month to run, was receiving more enquiries as more people have heard of the centre.

She said it would take a year of solid fundraising to make sure the charity was safe.

Mrs Bull added: ‘I want to say a massive thank-you to everybody – but please don’t stop supporting us as every penny helps.’