History in brief

The Rainbow Centre was founded in 1990 and has grown hugely over the past 28 years. In 1983 our founder Helen Somerset How gave birth to twins, 12 weeks premature. By seven months Kate was beginning to reach and explore whilst Tom was unable to do so. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

At the time very little local authority help was available so when Tom was 4, Helen and her husband, John, decided to take him to the Peto Institute in Budapest where Conductive Education was pioneered. In 1990 Helen and John, in conjunction with another couple, brought three Hungarian conductors to the UK and established the Rainbow Centre.

At first sessions were held in private homes but as it grew it moved to the gym of a local school for children with severe learning difficulties. They soon outgrew the gym and in January 1991, moved to a building leased from Fareham Borough Council. This was a huge leap forward, but not an ideal solution as it was on the first floor of the building over a carpet shop. Children and wheelchairs had to be carried up a steep flight of stairs and on rainy days the roof leaked so much that buckets had to be strategically placed to catch drips from the ceiling. However, it was always a bright and cheerful place and many families have fond memories of what was achieved there.

After thirteen years, Fareham Borough Council announced the re-development of the area to build a new shopping centre, and in 2004 it became clear that it would be necessary to find a new home. A temporary solution was found in a pair of portacabins in the grounds of a school, and a capital appeal was launched with the objective of financing the building of a permanent home. Following extensive fundraising and planning, ground-breaking for the new building commenced in July 2005, with the charity able to move into its permanent home in April 2006.

Since it’s founding, The Rainbow Centre has changed the lives of over 300 children and their families, many of those over a period of quite a number of years, and our service has continued to grow, so that we now support around 50 children per year. For the last 10 years, we have also worked with adults with neurological conditions, and this area of our work is rapidly growing.

To read more about its history, please click on the links below: