…when Pauline Dunnington was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After 6 debilitating months of chemotherapy, she was discharged from hospital and went home alone. While there was some support from the community nurse, this was limited, and Pauline soon realised that she had fallen through the net and felt isolated.
This isolation compounded by lack of information, practical help and support meant that she was not able to perform the things that so many of us take for granted.
Sadly, Pauline realised that she was not the only one. Stroke sufferers, severely disabled, the elderly – to name but a few – quickly become isolated and lose hope without access to services, advice, personal support, and information in remote rural areas.
That is when The Rainbow Foundation – previously the Rainbow Centre – was born. Helped along the way by a lot of hard work and some very special people including Robert Williams our Chair of Trustees for 22 years, and Abigail Tudor our Centre Manager for 20 years. There have been many staff, supporters, and trustees over the years without who we would not be The Rainbow Foundation you see today. Helping thousands of people across Wrexham and North Shropshire, and we thank every single one of them both past and present.
The Rainbow Centre registered as a Charity in 1994, a year later it opened in ward 2 of the old Polish Hospital as a healthy living centre. With support of the Health Authority and local volunteers the service was open to the community.
When the Polish hospital closed in 2002, the Rainbow Centre moved to a nearby refurbished portacabin. The North East Wales Health Authority and our patron Henry Wilson were very generous with their help in this move. It was a meant to be a temporary measure, but it was the Rainbow Centre’s home for the next 7 years.
In 2007, a Lottery bid of over £360,000 was awarded to the charity. With a Welsh Assembly grant, a further donation from the Henry Smith Charity and 2 last minute private donors, the building of our current site started. The new centre opened in 2010.
In 2011 a further Lottery Bid of £490,000 was awarded to the Centre to start our Outreach Befriending Service which included a 1-2-1 befriending service, the establishment of shared interest groups including ‘lunch and learn’ and many volunteering opportunities.
In need of additional transport, in 2017 we Crowdfunded for the first time raising an incredible £21,000 for our new mini-bus. It is vital to maintain the accessibility of our centre to our community, for some the minibus is a lifeline, all driven by our wonderful volunteers.
Our Community Wellbeing Service started with support from local community councils and we also featured in Sport Relief’s TV Campaign!
2018 was a busy year for the Rainbow Centre. We launched the Social Prescribing Service in all surgeries across Wrexham to support patients with their emotional wellbeing and self care, as well as to provide advice and information on a range of issues.
When the pandemic hit in 2020 and Covid 19 spread through our communities, many other services closed their doors. However, we kept going. As an active ageing charity, we worked relentlessly throughout the pandemic to support older people, particularly those with dementia and multiple disabilities to stay living in their communities whilst also addressing the wider determinants of ill health.
In 2021 we took our care service direct to our clients in the community with the launch of Rainbow Care and Support. Providing high quality care in areas across Wrexham where private firms won’t operate, we enable people to remain in their community and live independently for longer.