Rainbow House in Mawdesley enters new era

Hayley Scholes, head of services and partnerships, Millie Proudfoot, Lucy Bretherton, at Rainbow House, in Mawdesley
Hayley Scholes, head of services and partnerships, Millie Proudfoot, Lucy Bretherton, at Rainbow House, in Mawdesley

A conductive education centre in Chorley which supports children with disabilities is looking forward to developing new services following a new leader at the helm.

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Ben Blackman, new CEO of Rainbow House, in Mawdesley

Ben Blackman, new CEO of Rainbow House, in Mawdesley

Ben Blackman, from Croston, has been appointed chief executive of Rainbow House, in Mawdesley, taking over from Carole Cochrane CBE.

With 16 years experience in senior management positions in the not-for-profit sector, the 38-year-old has worked for local, regional and national organisations including RSPCA, Carers Central and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, where he was director of strategic development.

He says: “Rainbow House captivates everyone who comes into contact with it and this has certainly been the case for me.

“Having worked with the trustees, staff and parents last year, I am delighted to be taking over from Carole in the long-term and look forward to fulfilling our mission to make Rainbow House a centre of excellence for children with neurological conditions and disabilities.

Ben Blackman and Carole Cochrane

Ben Blackman and Carole Cochrane

“The plans we have include developing a wider array of services and support for those children and young people we work with, as well as providing more for their parents and family members. Being a father myself, with a strong health and social care professional background, I understand how our services can impact on the whole family and, if we can achieve that, it is incredibly powerful.

“I am lucky to see the benefit of our work on a daily basis, and incredibly proud to lead our team of staff who achieve life changing steps thanks to their professionalism and the hard work of the children and young people we support.”

Pauline Clare, chairman of the trustees, and Rainbow House President Bill Ainscough say: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Ben Blackman as chief executive and are sure that his background and experience will bring significant benefits to our organisation and our service users.

“Carole created a stable environment and put the charity in a strong position with good financial backing. Having decided it was time to retire, she leaves with the thanks of and all good wishes from the board of trustees and staff.”

Carole Cochrane, CBE, who has now moved to Spain to enjoy her retirement, is delighted to pass the baton to Ben.

The 65-year-old says: “I spent two fantastic years at Rainbow House. It is a very worthy charity with a great team achieving amazing results for children with disabilities and I am sure Ben will take it forward to even greater strengths with their support and that of the board of trustees.

“I am now looking forward to spending time with my husband in our new home in Spain.”

Having progressed through the ranks over 14 years from conductive assistant to head of services and partnerships, Hayley Scholes, of Leyland, is equally excited about Ben coming on board and she is looking forward to being part of the next stages in making Rainbow House a centre of excellence.

The 39-year-old says: “I am in charge of running the day to day services and making sure we create more charity partnerships to support what we do and achieve our targets.

“We want to progress and extend our physio services, offering rebound and hydrotherapy and sensory programmes. We will also be looking more closely at speech and language and occupational therapy.

“We are also aiming to provide more support to the families, such as activities and breaks, as that has a bigger impact on the children and adults we support. By offering more we are aiming to reach out to more people. It feels like we are in the best place to do that now.

“The best part of the job is seeing our children or adults achieving their goals. It can be something as small as eye contact, but it means a lot to that individual.”