Help­ing hand for fam­i­lies in need

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Student Life -

RAIN­BOW House, in Mawdes­ley, is known for its work sup­port­ing chil­dren and young peo­ple with neu­ro­log­i­cal and phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties, but the char­ity has recog­nised that it has be­come a vi­tal part of the lives of its chil­dren’s par­ents and sib­lings.

It recog­nises the im­por­tance of sup­port for the whole fam­ily and re­alise that pro­vid­ing breaks and ac­tiv­i­ties for par­ents and sib­lings, to­gether with the op­por­tu­nity to so­cialise with other fam­i­lies us­ing Rain­bow House, is ex­tremely ben­e­fi­cial to those fam­i­lies who are of­ten iso­lated from the rest of so­ci­ety.

While much sup­port so far has been in­for­mal and re­ac­tive, Rain­bow House is now start­ing to de­velop a pro­gramme of so­cial events and par­ent carer groups. Among the events be­ing planned by So­nia Har­ris, par­ent li­ai­son at Rain­bow House, are fam­ily bar­be­cues, Dads’ Day Out at Pre­ston North End, Mums’ Race Day at Hay­dock Park, Ch­ester Zoo trip, Sib­lings Day Out to Black­pool Plea­sure Beach and a Sea Life Cen­tre Trip.

Katy Hencher, a par­ent from Ley­land, said: “Ev­ery­one is so friendly at Rain­bow House it makes you feel nor­mal and the pro­gramme of events be­ing planned sounds great fun.” Some par­ents are also ar­rang­ing their own in­for­mal get-to­geth­ers, look­ing at healthy lifestyle op­tions and tak­ing part in Keep Fit ses­sions with Rachel Bryan, of Fit­bop, who gives up some of her time to help them.

Rachel said she had ex­pe­ri­ence of car­ing in her fam­ily and when she re­alised how much time the par­ents give up to care she thought she would do the Keep Fit ses­sions to give them some “me time” while their chil­dren were at Rain­bow House.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of Rain­bow House, Ben Black­man, said: “Rain­bow House is chang­ing to meet the needs of a chang­ing world where a whole fam­ily ap­proach has been iden­ti­fied as the way for­ward. While our main aim is to sup­port chil­dren and young peo­ple with neu­ro­log­i­cal and phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties, we recog­nise the need to sup­port all the fam­ily as well.

“We know from fam­i­lies we sup­port that other sup­port ser­vices they have re­lied on con­tinue to be hit by cut­backs so we feel we should step up wher­ever we can.

“As we have no statu­tory fund­ing, cut­backs do not di­rectly affect us, but we have to raise over £12,000 per week to pro­vide the unique va­ri­ety of ser­vices our fam­i­lies need.”

He con­tin­ued: “In ad­di­tion to the events, group ses­sions and coun­selling we plan to or­gan­ise, we will con­tinue to progress part­ner­ship work with other or­gan­i­sa­tions who help un­paid car­ers, to en­sure that our par­ent car­ers have the widest sup­port net­work pos­si­ble.”

Keep­ing fit has a wide range of ben­e­fits

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