'The next 10 years are going to be a very exciting time'

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A CHARITY has submitted bold new plans to double the size of its home.

The Rainbow Centre bosses have put in a planning application to add a new wing and second floor extensions at its home at Cams Alders in Fareham.

The proposals are a major part of the centre's plans to expand its operation in coming years.

The current 1.2m building was completed in 2006 and marked the first time the charity, which helps youngsters with cerebral palsy, had a proper base.

It began at the home of co-founder of Helen Somerset How in 1990 before spending many years above a carpet shop and then in portable classrooms at a secondary school.

The centre had always been planned as a two-phase development, but the second phase was delayed because of the uncertain economic climate.

But as the charity is looking to grow, the extra space will be vital for new staff and the clients it hopes to help. Since moving to Cams it has also started treating adult stroke and Parkinsons patients.

Mrs Somerset How said: 'I thought my job here was ending when we moved into this building. It had been pretty manic in all those years running up to getting it, so I thought I could then sit back a bit.

'But it's just taken off instead.

'We have doubled our income since we moved in here – we've had to. When we came here we had 34 families on our books. Now we have more than 90 plus a waiting list.

'Having a purpose-built home has given us so many more options and those services have grown through demand, so it seems as if the life of the organisation is just beginning and yet we are 20 years in.

'The next 10 years will be very exciting.'

Mrs Somerset How said it was too early to say how much the extension would cost.

She said: 'Providing we get the consent, we are hoping to get a grant to be able to bring someone in so we can see how much the detailed work will cost.'

Fareham Borough Council is taking comments on the proposals until January 11. No date has been set for it to go before the planning committee.