Tuesday, 25 March 2014


Crock of gold urgently required

Another English CE centre is facing imminent financial meltdown. Also on the South Coast, one of the Rainbow Centre's local newspapers, the Portsmouth News, reports –
PARENTS of youngsters with neurological disorders have pleaded with the public to save a support centre from closure. The Fareham-based Rainbow Centre will be forced to shut its doors after Easter unless £150,000 can be raised to keep it afloat...
Centre director Lara Bull said: ‘We need a serious injection of money. If we don’t get that we won’t be able to open after the Easter break.’
The centre currently supports 40 children and 37 adults from as far afield as Surrey, Dorset and the Isle of Wight. It employs 15 people and relies on support from a small army of volunteers. Ms Bull said: ‘We are literally the only conductive education centre on the south coast. If we’re gone, parents would have to take their children to Billinghurst or Aylesbury or London. We just cannot let this service go.’
Ms Bull said the centre cost £47,500 a month to run, which came exclusively from fundraising.
We don’t receive any government funding so community support has been our absolute lifeblood. We’ve managed to get through the recession but as with many companies and charities, we used up our cash reserves in the crisis and we’ve been living hand-to-mouth since then.’
Rainbow was created by John and Helen Somerset How and another family, Peter and Julia Mann in 1990, in the early days of popular enthusiasm for Conductive Education in the United Kingdom. Since then it has had its share of ups and downs but has come to seem an established force in the land, especially since moving to its purpose-built facility in 2005. Its services developed primarily for preschool-age children with cerebral palsy but in recent years have expanded to serve adults too. There were plans to build a second building on the site, for adults, and a campaign was started to create s conductor-training course linked with a university.

Means of service-delivery have been soundly conductive, to provide which Rainbow employs ten experienced, full-time conductors:


Rainbow has now made a last-ditch live-or-die public appeal. I never know what is the best course in such circumstances. £150,000 is a lot to rise piecemeal from such a desperate public measure. Going so public might do no more that alert bodies that could otherwise consider donating larger sums that this could prove a risky enterprise, effectively scaring them off. But who knows – this is a well-heeled part if the country...

By the way, Rainbow is not 'literally' the only CE centre on the South Coast of England, as a glance at the map will confirm:

Indeed over the last twenty or so years the South Coast had been relatively well provided with conductive service in a country that is far less well stocked with such provision than many overseas appear to imagine. That said, here as elsewhere in the world, CE services are most heterogeneous, and it is unlikely that parents will find another service quite like Rainbow.

Strange twist

In a later local report, The Southern Daily Echo adds further detail on what sounds like an established cash-flow problem, and suggests an unusual perspective to the story 
Although staff at the centre have been raising £47,500 each month to keep it going, more is needed in the immediate short term. Centre director Lara Bull said that the facility had been living hand to mouth for the past 18 months, with three board members having to lend the charity money to pay staff wages. Mrs Bull said that £150,000 would give the charity time to get back on track.New fundraising initiatives are in the pipeline, but the centre says that these need time to produce results. If it cannot be found by the end of the Easter bank holidays, the centre will not reopen and its 15 staff will be put on unpaid leave while fundraising continues...
Children learn Conductive Education, a system which develops new neural pathways to undamaged parts of the brain, helping someone to master control of their core muscles, limbs and movements. It aims to give them increasing independence.... 
But Conductive Education is not recognised by the NHS and therefore it receives no funding.
Of course CE is not funded by the National Health Service, nor should it be, since it is not a medical or therapeutic procedure. If anything has distinguished the conductive movement in the United Kingdom it is recognition that it is a pedagogy, and in adults a social-care process, and should be funded appropriately. Nor should it funded by 'the government', the general trend in England being for Conductive Education to find such state funding as it can through local authorities. Given the imminent national upheaval in all provision for disabled children and young people, in education, health and social welfare, now of all times offers interesting possibilities for the future for an organisation that stands at the intersection of the interests of these three major strands in the state's concerns.

Short of 'an urgent cash injection' – a  crock of gold  there maybe no immediate solution to Rainbow's cash-flow problems. In the longer term, however, Rainbow has been through lean times before and may yet rise again. But it will need a very different frame of reference from presenting itself as 'a system which develops new neural pathways to undamaged parts of the brain', if it is going to make serious headway under the new legislation for disabled children and young people and to get on to the local social-care agenda for older people.


– (2014) Parents’ plea to save Rainbow Centre, Portsmouth News, 24 March

Streatfield, E. (2004) Four weeks to save Rainbow Centre in Fareham, Southern Daily Echo, 24 March

Labels: , ,


Blogger Andrew Sutton said...

Further news

Centre director Lara Bull –

'The board and I are absolutely confident that the strategy we have developed will ensure we should never find ourselves in this position again, we just need time.'

Perhaps they will share their cunning plan. There are others who might benefit.


Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 11:45:00 GMT  
Anonymous Andrew Sutton said...

A little more on Rainbow's cash flow, and how it does not project itself as education


Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 10:20:00 GMT  
Anonymous Andrew Sutton said...

This from a prominent local supporter –

'Whether it’s providing physiotherapy or supporting families, the Rainbow Centre really makes a difference,'

HE is used to leading from the front. And now Peter Grimwood, chief executive of Fareham Borough Council, will be hoping not to fall behind as he takes on the London Marathon for the second time in aid of a Hampshire charity in crisis.


'A CHARITY facing closure because of a funding crisis is already a third of the way to raising the cash it needs to keep its doors open. The Rainbow Centre, which transforms the lives of disabled people, has raised £62,000 in just four days. This means that the service will continue to run for the next month.'

'...develops new neural pathways to undamaged parts of the brain ...conductive education is not recognised by the NHS and therefore the centre receives no funding...'


Friday, 28 March 2014 at 21:39:00 GMT  
Anonymous Andrew Sutton said...


Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 10:46:00 GMT  
Anonymous Andrew said...

Enough now raised in emergency appeal to carry on into start of summer term


Sunday, 30 March 2014 at 23:37:00 BST  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home