When The Rainbow Centre began life in 1990 in the front room of Helen Somerset How’s home, little could the charity’s founders realise how many lives they would affect.
It had been created out of a desire to help the Somerset Hows’ son, who was born with cerebral palsy.
From those humble beginnings, the centre eventually moved into a £1m purpose-built home at Cams Alders in Fareham and has become a regional centre for helping youngsters with cerebral palsy and other motor skills problems.
However, as it has grown, so too has its budget. It now needs to raise more than £500,000 a year just to cover its running costs.
The charity’s staff work hard to maximise revenue streams and have often been innovative – and successful – in this area in the past.
But the centre relies on the generosity of the public, and if we are currently having an economic recovery, someone forgot to tell The Rainbow Centre and other charities of a similar size who are also suffering as that public continues to count its pennies more closely than it used to.
It is a long time since the centre was a relatively simple, family-run concern.
But despite considerable growth, it does not have the clout of the major national charities to attract funding or attention.
However, the centre has now gone public with the news that it is in dire financial straits.
If it can’t raise £150,000 soon, it will have to close the doors after Easter.
This is not a case of mismanagement, it is a sad case of a worthy cause being squeezed by all the other demands on people’s cash.
We have already seen another worthy cause, counselling charity Off The Record, on the verge of collapse in the past week, so it is difficult to ask the public to dig deep again.
But if you can spare a fiver, this is a cause worth fighting to save.
If the centre closes there will simply be nowhere for its users to turn to.