Rainbow House is known for its work supporting children and young people with neurological and physical disabilities, but the charity has recognised they have also become a vital part of the lives of their children’s parents and siblings.
The Mawdesley-based charity recognises the importance of support for the whole family and realises providing breaks and activities for parents and siblings, together with the opportunity to socialise with other families, is beneficial to those who are often isolated from the rest of society.
Whilst 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. Amongst the events being planned 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 session.
Ben Blackman, chief executive of Rainbow House, in Mawdesley, 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.
“Whilst 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 for a diverse range of conditions.
“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.”