History of the Rainbow Centre – The Beginnings

In 1983, 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. When he was 3 years old, a health visitor told Helen & her husband John about Conductive Education.


Little state help was available in the UK, so when Tom was 4, Helen & John took him to the Peto Institute in Budapest where conductive education was pioneered. Tom attended the Peto institute for 18 months over a period of 2 years. His parents took it in turns to stay in Hungary with him.

The Peto Institute

When the Iron Curtain came down in 1989, Hungarians were allowed to hold passports and travel. Many saw this as the opportunity to start new lives in the West. In 1990 Helen & John and Peter & Julia Mann brought three Hungarian conductors to the UK and thus the Rainbow Centre had its beginnings.
At first, sessions were held in private homes but moved to the gym of Furzebrook School (an SLD school) in Sarisbury Green near Southampton in May 1990. Fundraising began and the charity was registered. The Rainbow Centre soon outgrew the gym and in January 1991, moved to a building in Quay Street, Fareham leased from Fareham Borough Council.

Next – Quay Street