It's saved! Rainbow Centre in Fareham threatened with closure smashes £100,000 fundraising goal

Veronica Gaoua kept her hair during cancer treatment, but decided to shave it all off to raise some money for the centre.
Veronica Gaoua kept her hair during cancer treatment, but decided to shave it all off to raise some money for the centre.
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A charity that supports people with neurological conditions in Fareham has exceeded its £100,000 fundraising target. 

The Rainbow Centre, in Palmerston Drive, Fareham, was threatened with closure earlier this year after a 30 per cent drop in donations. 

Helen Somerset How in front of The Rainbow Centre.

Helen Somerset How in front of The Rainbow Centre.

But the community has rallied around the charity – with one family making a donation of £30,000. 

The founder of the centre, Helen Somerset How, said she was ‘totally astounded’ by the support. 

She said: ‘Reaching our appeal target means that we move into the next financial year able to continue to provide the services which change the life of our participants and their families.

‘We are all totally astounded by the support the centre has been given by our local community and others from far and wide - we even had a sponsored bike ride held in Australia!’

Five-year-old Eila O’Gorman was inspired to undertake a sponsored bike ride of 100 miles in 30 days, as she has a friend with lissencephaly – a rare brain malformation – who is supported by the Rainbow Centre. 

Mum Katie said: ‘She was the driving force behind the idea - she really wanted to support her friend. 

‘We’re over the moon to hear the centre is in a better place, and we’re looking to make the bike ride an annual event.’ 

Eila’s efforts raised more than £900.

The centre costs £750,000 per year to run, with its work receiving no government funding. 

Helen said: ‘Reaching our appeal target means that we move into the next financial year able to continue to provide the services which change the life of our participants and their families.

‘However, our fundraising is an ongoing task as the majority of our funding comes from donations.

‘Therefore we urge all our supporters to continue with their amazing fundraising activities and donations.’

Veronica Gaoua raised more than £5,500 by going under the clippers for a sponsored head shave – after being thrilled to keep her hair during breast cancer treatment last year. 

The retired teacher said: ‘It’s wonderful news that the centre has reached its target.

‘Attending their Parkinson’s group keeps me fit and healthy – it stops me from needing to use a wheelchair. 

‘I’d be willing to shave my head next year if it helped – I would do it again tomorrow, because it is such a good cause.’