Charity's new boss bids to double income

Headteacher  Colin Rainford and pupils celebrate a good Ofsted report at Hayling College     Picture: Chris Moorhouse

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A CHARITY for disabled people has appointed a new chief executive it hopes will help double its income.

Helen Somerset How, the co-founder of the Rainbow Centre in Fareham, is handing over the reins to Ian Piper in January.

The centre, at Cams Alders, started off to help youngsters with cerebral palsy.

But in recent years it has started to work with adult stroke victims and patients with Parkinsons disease.

And as Mr Piper prepares to step in for its 21st anniversary year, he is already talking about bold visions to double the charity's income in the next few years.

It currently needs to raise about 500,000 each year just to keep its doors open.

But Mr Piper, 50, said: 'There are a lot of ideas and opportunities we are looking at for how to take the centre forward and increase our services, but of course that needs more money.

'One of the things I have been asked to do is to get together a strategy plan on what we really should be doing.

'The plan over the next two to three years is to at least double that income.'

Some of these ideas include research, training and running graduate courses.

Mr Piper already has extensive contacts in the world of academia, the NHS and the voluntary sector from his previous career.

He was most recently the chief executive of Community First for Portsmouth, a post he held for three years.

He added: 'Of course we value the people and groups who already support us, but it's about finding new people, establishing networks and bringing a fresh pair of eyes to it all.'

He said centre staff would also be pursuing new ideas to bring the cash rolling in.

Mr Piper said: 'We want to stick clearly to the original values and ethos of the Rainbow Centre and not just chase money for the sake of it.'

And although Mrs Somerset How will no longer be directly involved in the day-to-day running of the charity which started in her front room in 1990, she will continue to act as an ambassador for it.

Mrs Somerset How said: 'We have got to a certain level now as a charity, but to take it to the next one, we need to make changes.

'Ian brings a world of experience and contacts to the centre and that's going to bring wonderful opportunities.'