A YEAR ago, the future of a vital charity looked bleak.
The Rainbow Centre, in Fareham, had no money in its reserves and was facing imminent closure.
It would have meant hundreds of people with conditions such as cerebral palsy, Parkinsons and MS would have had nowhere to go to receive the specialist treatment which has been changing people’s lives for the past 25 years.
But a plea through The News and social media turned the charity’s fortunes around – and director Lara Bull says the crisis became a defining moment which brought the charity to the attention of people who would never otherwise have heard of it.
It has brought it huge donations and regular monthly giving from big businesses, securing its future.
‘This is a fantastic position to be in,’ said Lara.
‘At our last board meeting we were discussing where we should bank because we can only safely put a maximum of £85,000 in each account.
‘We have gone from one extreme to the other.
‘We are all shocked and humbled by the response to our crisis appeal. It has been absolutely fantastic.
‘What is so wonderful is the continued support. The money didn’t just filter in for the seven-week appeal and then stop.
‘The whole region realised this is a vital service and one of a kind and if it goes it’s gone forever.’
Another benefit has been increased awareness that the charity offers conductive education – a way of improving strength and mobility – to both children and adults with MS, Parkinsons, cerebral palsy and people recovering from head injuries and stroke.
The charity, in Palmerston Drive, supports 50 adults and 40 children from across southern England.
Lara added: ‘This year is The Rainbow Centre’s 25th anniversary – a milestone that looked unlikely a little over a year ago.
‘The value of service users, staff and the board all acting as one committed body for the good of the charity has become the most important legacy of the campaign.
‘One year on and The Rainbow Centre is in a very different place, and we can’t say thank you enough to all those who helped us.’
Go to rainbowcentre.org.