COMMENT: We need to heed the pleas of local charities - Opinion
The Rainbow Centre began from the most humble of origins – a family's front room. It started off 29 years ago as a means of providing support and help to youngsters with cerebral palsy through the life-changing conductive education system.
Over those three decades it has moved from the upstairs of a carpet shop, to temporary cabins, before the charity realised its dream and moved into a permanent purpose-built centre.
Shortly after they expanded their services to adult stroke victims and those with Parkinsons.
Although based in Fareham, they take in clients from all across the south, and have helped thousands of people. The Rainbow Centre has been a huge success story.
But like so many smaller and regional charities they rely largely on the kindness of the public – external funding is rare-to-nonexistent for many of these organisations.
So when times are tough, and people understandably turn their attention closer to home, it is these charities which are often hardest hit.
The Rainbow Centre has revealed community donations are down 30 per cent over the past financial year. And they warn that if they cannot turn things around, they may be forced to reduce services.
Asking the public to dig deeper for charity when they themselves may be struggling thanks to years of austerity and inflation outstripping wage increases, becomes increasingly tough.
This is highlighted by research which shows how donations have slumped nationally in the past two years. High-profile scandals around larger charities have not helped the overall perception of the sector either.
But it is these smaller charities who often bear the brunt of these effects.
So, next time you are thinking about giving to charity, remember your local good causes first.