Hospice Blog

  • Huge thank you to Rainworth Skoda!

    Leoam enjoying the lovely CHristmas tree donated by Rainworth Skoda

    Everyone at Rainbows, especially those in Daycare would like to thank Rainworth Skoda who very kindly donated a beautiful Christmas tree to stand at the entrance of the Young People’s Lounge for the duration of the festive season.

    Some of the young people got to decorate the tree and had a great time! We’re sure you’ll agree that the smile on Leoam’s face speaks volumes!

    We just wanted to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to Rainworth Skoda. The tree looked fantastic and you created a lot of smiles by giving us such a generous donation.

  • Let the ‘Rain’, see the ‘bows’! Popular TV presenter and comedian visits Rainbows.

    Paddy and Family

    Television presenter and comedian Paddy McGuinness, paid a surprise visit to Rainbows.

    Best known for his one-liners as host of ITV1’s Saturday night dating show, Take Me Out, Paddy popped in to meet the children, young people, families and staff. The TV funny man, who also recently appeared in Coronation Street, took part in arts activities, signed autographs and happily posed for photos with everyone at the hospice.

    Paddy, who was in the East Midlands as part of his sold-out nationwide stand up tour, also brought an array of Halloween gifts for the children, including dressing up costumes and sweets.

    Nishil Saujani, Senior PR Officer at Rainbows, who invited Paddy to visit the hospice, said: “When Paddy said he wanted to pop by, our families were very excited. They love watching him on TV and couldn’t believe that he was coming in especially to meet them.”

    He continued: “He surprised us with bags of goodies, Halloween costumes and sweets for the kids and really went out of his way to talk to everyone. He took selfies with all the young people and went round meeting the staff and care team. Paddy had everyone here laughing and smiling.”

  • No tricks, just treats!

    No tricks just treats

    Our shops offer tasty treats to those donating unwanted clothes, toys and household goods

    This Halloween, our Rainbows Shops are offering anyone who donates their unwanted things free tasty treats for each bag they bring in.

    Delicious lollypops, kindly donated by Rainbows Patron and royal baker, Fiona Cairns, await those bringing in anything from clothes and DVDs to board games and picture frames, which will then be sold at Rainbows Shops across the region. All the money raised from goods sold at Rainbows Shops helps fund the Loughborough based hospice.

    Karen Bilsby, Head of Retail at Rainbows, said: “At all our Rainbows Shops this Halloween, we’re offering treats, not tricks! It’s our way to say a little thank you to our fantastic supporters who donate their unwanted items for us to sell in store. Hopefully it might encourage some of our younger supporters who might be thinking about giving away their old toys too.”

    She continued: “The shops are so important in terms of helping us to raise money for the hospice. When we sell your unwanted items in our shops across the East Midlands, the money helps us provide vital needed care for local children who simply won’t live long enough. It also helps us support their families and siblings who are so are going through the most difficult of times.

    Rainbows is also keen to let supporters know about a little known scheme called Retail Gift Aid, which las year helped the charity to raise an additional £16,000.

    Set up by the government, Retail Gift Aid allows charities like Rainbows to claim back 25p from the taxman for every pound donated.

    Karen said; “It’s so simple! Our supporters are always so generous when it comes to donating their unwanted items for us to sell, but many have no idea that, by giving us a just a few more details, they could help us to raise so much more money.”

    She added: “There’s no cost to you and no strings attached, it really is as simple as that! We even have a small form ready for you to sign when you come in to drop off your unwanted items to save you time.”

    To find out where your nearest Rainbows Shop is, visit www.ranbows.co.uk/shops.

  • EastEnders actress becomes new patron for Rainbows


    Rakhee Thakrar pictured with James Everett in the Young People’s Lounge

    Rainbows is delighted to announce EastEnders actress, Rakhee Thakrar, from Leicester, has become its newest Patron.

    The 31 year old, who plays Shabnam Masood in the award winning BBC One show, visited the hospice earlier this year to meet some of the inspirational children, families and staff. During her visit, she joined in with arts activities took part in a special TV quiz with the young people and even met the Rainbows Choir.

    Speaking about becoming a Patron, Rakhee said: It’s a huge honour for me to become a Patron for Rainbows. During my visit, when I was asked by the young people if I would consider becoming a Patron, I was incredibly touched and immediately agreed.”

    She continued: “Meeting the children and young people was amazing. I never expected a hospice to be so happy, it really is a place where families can make memories. The staff at Rainbows are incredible. It’s amazing how much actually goes on at the hospice and how far the staff go to make things happen. It truly is an inspiring place and I’m delighted to become a Patron.”

    As a Rainbows Patron, Rakhee will be supporting the hospice in whatever way her schedule allows, which will be invaluable in raising the profile of the charity. She has even offered to show some of the young people around Albert Square, the fictional setting of the famous soap.

    Andy Campbell, Chief Executive at Rainbows, said: “It was wonderful when Rakhee visited us at Rainbows. She brought with her so much positivity and everyone who met her, loved her. To have her on board as our newest patron is very exciting and we are extremely happy she has pledged her support to us. As ever, we are very grateful to all of our patrons and ambassadors for the wonderful work they do for Rainbows and for promoting the charity all over the UK.”

  • Mum joins Northampton charity colour run to celebrate daughter’s life

    Jessica Kerr - Email

    Mum, Mel Kerr, will be taking part in the first ever Northampton Rainbows Colour Run, to celebrate the life of her daughter, Jessica.

    Jessica was born with Patau Syndrome. Some of its characteristics include heart defects, cleft palate and scalp defects, and between 80 per cent and 90 per cent of babies do not survive infancy

    Mel said: “When Jess was two-days-old they said she had Patau Syndrome and my world fell apart. I was crushed. I was devastated. Absolutely devastated. “The family were warned that Jessica would not reach her first birthday and even for her to make it to four weeks old would be difficult.

    Unable to gain weight, Jessica was fed through a nasal tube. She also had no immune system and was prone to picking up infections, which she’d struggle to fight off.

    Her condition meant Jessica would often forget to breathe and turn blue. When this happened her parents, Mel and Simon, would give her oxygen and stimulate her chest. She would also regularly be unresponsive and needed respiratory resuscitation. Sometimes Jessica would have to be resuscitated a number of times throughout the day.

    Mel said: “We had to make plans in case she deteriorated. We were nervous wrecks. The first four weeks were hell and we were just waiting for her to go. I couldn’t take my eyes off her for a second. I couldn’t even go to the toilet without her in case she stopped breathing. It was horrible. We had to take it in turns to sleep but we didn’t really sleep at all.”

    Despite all of this, Jessica beat the odds and celebrated her first birthday with her family. “It was amazing,” Mel said. “After what the doctors told us when she was born, we never thought we’d get to spend so much time with her. She deserved to celebrate her birthday, she was such a happy, smiley baby despite everything. We really will cherish the time we had with her forever.”

    Sadly, Jessica passed away on 26th April 2014 at the age of 1 year and 2 months. But Mel is determined to make sure her legacy lives on.

    Throughout her short life, Jessica and the Kerr family received care, support and guidance from Rainbows. The hospice is the only one of its kind in the East Midlands and provides vital help for children and young people from across the East Midlands with life limiting conditions, as well as their families and siblings. The organisation currently cares for over 300 children and over 500 families, including many in Northampton.

    Mel said: “I love Rainbows. It was a huge part of Jessica’s life. At first, I didn’t want her to go to Rainbows as I thought it would be a sad place where people go to die. But after I looked round and met the people, I fell in love with it.”

    She continued; “Rainbows didn’t just look after Jessica, they looked after the whole family, including her brothers and sisters. They really benefited from the sibling support services offered by Rainbows and got to do lots of fun activities. With Jessica taking up so much of our time, Rainbows helped make sure the other children didn’t feel neglected.”

    In memory of her daughter, Mel will be taking part in the Northampton Rainbow Run, which takes place on Saturday 26th September at the Racecourse Ground. Participants will get covered with brightly coloured powder as they make their way around the 5k circuit.

    “I can’t wait for the Colour Run. It’s a great way for us to say thank you to Rainbows and celebrate Jessica’s life in the most colourful way,” she said.

    Katie Baxter, head of community and events at Rainbows, said: “This is such an enjoyable and celebratory event. Anyone can take part and you don’t have to run, it is all about the fun and laughter and of course, raising valuable funds for Rainbows so we can keep supporting families from Northampton and across the East Midlands.

    “We want as many people from Northampton to come along wearing a white t-shirt, and running gear they don’t mind getting messy, and we guarantee they will leave with a smile and every colour of the rainbow.”

    The event is being organised in partnership with Northampton-based business energy supplier, Opus Energy. Annamarie Petsis Jones, Human Resources Director at Opus Energy, said: “We’re delighted to continue our commitment to Rainbows and the hugely important work it does by getting involved in such a fun event.  We believe the Rainbow Run will be enjoyable for all involved and we wish all participants the best of luck as they raise money for this worthwhile cause.”

    As well as participants, Rainbows also needs volunteers armed with paint to throw at the participants as they make their way through the colour stations.

    Registration opens at 10.30am and entry is £16 for adults, £8 for the under 15s, with concessions for families and teams. For more information, visit www.rainbows.co.uk/rainbowrun, call 0800 9521133 or email fundraising@rainbows.co.uk.

  • Generous business donates extra 10p for every Rainbows Superdraw ticket bought

    Mia and Cory - Summer Superdraw 2015

    People are being encouraged to purchase tickets for the Rainbows Summer Superdraw after a Midlands based business offered to donate an additional ten pence for every ticket sold, up to £10,000.

    For every £1 ticket bought, Strategic Communications Services (SCS) will donate ten pence to Rainbows.

    By buying a ticket, not only will you be supporting the hospice, but you will also be in with a chance of winning up to £3,000, as well as a host of other cash prizes.

    Gill Smitherman, lottery manager at Rainbows, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to SCS for their generous offer of support. Now we’re challenging the people to help us to raise as much money as possible.”

    She continued: “By buying a Superdraw ticket, not only do you stand a great chance of winning a fabulous cash prize, but you’re also making a huge difference to the lives of so many children and their families. Because of you, we can help families like the Blakey-Tews (pictured), whose children, Cory and Mia, receive care here at Rainbows.”

    The Rainbows Blooming Marvellous Superdraw will take place on Friday 7 August and tickets, which cost just £1, can be purchased until Friday 31st July.

    To buy tickets, contact Gill on 01509 638056, email lottery@rainbows.co.uk, or visit www.Rainbows.co.uk/superdraw. Tickets can also be bought in the Rainbows shops in Melton, Market Harborough, Blaby and Matlock.

  • New ‘Dad’s Group’ at Rainbows offers support to fathers

    Dads group

    When his son, Angus, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), Nick Brown, from Grantham in Lincolnshire, found it difficult to find the support he needed. However, since attending the Dads’ Group at Rainbows, Nick has discovered that there are people who understand exactly what he’s going through.

    “When we first found out about Angus’s condition, we were absolutely devastated,” Nick recalls. “In that one moment, everything changed. Our outlook on life changed. We were on a different journey. He was only six years old at the time. He’d had the symptoms from when he was much younger but we were told he was just lazy. I felt so bad about the times I’d told him off because we thought he was just being lazy. It never occurred to me that he actually physically wasn’t able to do the things we were asking him to do.”

    “I didn’t take the news very well when he was diagnosed. I literally locked myself away. I’d tried talking to friends and family, but no matter how close they are to you or how much they want to help, after a few minutes, you see that their eyes glaze over because they just can’t understand what it’s like to actually be in that situation.”

    Now aged twelve, Angus’s condition means his muscle tissue will continue to weaken and waste away, making it more and more difficult for him to use his body. He is currently in a wheel chair, unable to stand, walk or use his arm. DMD affects 1 in 3,600 male infants and is usually found when there is a history of similar conditions in the family.

    “Every day is difficult, especially at night time,” Nick said. “His medication and steroids cause him to have night sweats. He can’t use his body to turn over or even scratch an itch, so he gets very frustrated and uncomfortable. We usually end up getting up about three or four times each night to tend to him.

    “But apart from his physical difficulties, intellectually, he’s just like any other boy. Always on his Xbox playing FIFA, he goes to school, he has a great group of friends. Although he might not be as quick to pick up certain things like maths of English, he’s top of his year group in Science and his long term IQ puts him in the top two percent.”

    Nick attends the newly formed ‘Dad’s Group’, in which parents, all of whom are in a similar situation and have children being cared for by Rainbows, can meet and chat.

    “I’d tried all the professional counselling and support groups I was being offered, but it didn’t take me long to realise they just weren’t for me,” Nick said. “So, when we got the email from Rainbows about the Dads’ Group, I was very reluctant. But, because of the fantastic care my son was receiving there, my wife encouraged me to give it a try.”

    “I was really surprised at how good it was for me. For the first time I was with a group of dads who were in the same situation as me. I didn’t have to justify or explain myself or the way I was feeling and it was great to be able to share that with other dads who were on the same journey.

    “The group is very relaxed and informal. Those who want to share can, but you don’t have to, no one is forced to say anything. There’s about eight or ten other dads who regularly attend and they all find it really useful too.”

  • Champions’ Celebrities Celebrate Rainbows Charity Ball

    Champions Ball

    On Friday 29th May, a star-studded line-up gathered at The Dorchester hotel in London to attend a prestigious, black tie ball hosted by brand agency, Champions UK (plc), all in aid of Rainbows.

    The glittering occasion – a highlight of Champions’ annual fundraising calendar – saw a variety of high-profile celebrities, as well as their corporate clients, in attendance.

    Masterchef sensation and Strictly Come Dancing contestant, Gregg Wallace hosted the charity evening and a world class auction was held by Charlie Ross. The spectacular guest-list included X Factor singing superstar and Leicestershire resident, Sam Bailey, chart-topping boy-band, Blue, broadcaster Vanessa Feltz and retired boxing manager, Kellie Maloney. The guests were welcomed to the ball by Rainbows patrons including Coronation Street legend, William Roache MBE, England footballing legend, Peter Shilton OBE, as well as snooker legend Willie Thorne to name a few.

    The evening’s exciting entertainment included performances from Todd Miller and The Joe Loss Orchestra, as well as impressive moves from professional dancers and Strictly Come Dancing sensations, Alijaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara. They were joined on the floor by the current Junior British National Champions in Latin and Ballroom, Lloyd Perry and Rebecca Scott.

    The event proved to be a great opportunity to publicise and raise vital funds for Rainbows.


    Photo credit: Antonia Doyle

  • Volunteers Week

    Picture 1

    To celebrate Volunteers Week (1 – 7 June), we’ve been talking to some of our hardworking volunteers about why they give their time to Rainbows.

    “Volunteering lets me see the very best of people”

    Some volunteers really are driven and when it comes to going that extra mile, Julie Feechan really knows how to drive fundraising forward.

    Proudly showcasing her ‘R41NBO’ personal registration plate, Julie Feechan has been a volunteer ambassador for Rainbows for almost four years.

    As a student nurse in 1986, Julie cared for Laura Moore, the daughter of Rainbows’ founders Gail and Harry. Now the clinical head of five police forces in the East Midlands, Julie loves spending time volunteering for the hospice, promoting their good work and helping raise vital funds.

    “For me it’s about getting out in to the community and letting people know about the amazing work the staff at Rainbows do,” she said. “They really are a lifeline for families whose children have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses. But what’s truly amazing is that it’s such a happy place.”

    She continued, “I’d encourage anyone with a bit of free time to become a volunteer for Rainbows. Not only will you be making a huge difference, but you get back ten times what you put in to it. Plus you get the chance to meet some amazing people.”

    Speaking about her personal registration plate, Julie commented: “I wanted a private registration plate but couldn’t decide which to get. Then I had the idea about getting Rainbows on it to help raise the hospice’s profile and it worked a treat. Wherever I go, people ask me why I have the number plate and it gives me the perfect opportunity to talk to them about Rainbows.”

    Paul Holden, volunteer coordinator at Rainbows, said: “Volunteers play a huge part, not just in raising money for Rainbows, but also with day to day tasks to help us ensure we continue to provide the best care and support for families across the East Midlands who need it the most. We’d like to say a huge thank you to them for their hard work, time and commitment. We really are lucky to have some of the best volunteers in the world.

    “We always need volunteers here at Rainbows, at our shops and at our events. However much time you can spare, you really would be helping make a huge difference to children with life limiting illnesses.

    For more information about becoming a volunteer at Rainbows visit https://www.rainbows.co.uk/get-involved/volunteer/ or call 01509638000.

  • Little Lottie Launches Lotto!

    Summer Superdraw Launch

    Lottie Nemeth, whose brother, Tom, receives care here at Rainbows, has helped us to launch this year’s Blooming Marvellous Summer Superdraw, in which you could win up to £3,000.

    Now in its ninth year, the Superdraw helps raise vital funds needed to keep Rainbows running each year. As well as the top prize of £3,000, cash prizes of £500, £250 and £50 are also up for grabs.

    Lottie, aged one and a half from Duffield in Derbyshire, has been a regular visitor at Rainbows with her family since brother Tom, now aged five, was diagnosed with Neuronal Migration Disorder, a rare brain condition, shortly after he was born. As a result, he suffers from severe Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy and visual impairment and requires 24 hour care. Tom is unable to sit, walk and has limited speech, but he can manage to say, with a winning smile, the most important words to his family, such as “I love you”, “hello” and “thanks”.

    Mum, Sam, and husband, Jamie, discovered Rainbows when Tom was two-years-old and describe the hospice as “a godsend for the family”. Not only has Rainbows cared for Tom, but oldest daughter Ellie (9) has also benefited from our Sibling Support services.

    Sam says: “Rainbows is such an amazing and happy place. It gives us all a break away and quality time together as a family. They support not just me, my husband Jamie and obviously Tom who needs caring for 24/7, but also Ellie and Lottie with a lot of sibling activities. Hopefully his younger sister Lottie, will come to love Rainbows as much as her big sister Ellie. There the focus isn’t always on Tom, Rainbows help us make Ellie and Lottie feel as important as him which is brilliant.”

    Gill Smitherman, Rainbows lottery manager, said: “We’re delighted to have Lottie as the face of our Superdraw this year. The Nemeth family are the perfect example of how Rainbows helps provide care and support the whole family, not just the child with a life limiting illness.”

    She continued: “By buying a Superdraw ticket, not only do you stand a great chance of winning a fabulous cash prize, but you’re also making a huge difference to the lives of so many children and their families.”

    Rainbows Blooming Marvellous Superdraw will take place on Friday 7 August and tickets, which cost just £1, can be purchased until Friday 31st July.

    To buy tickets, visit www.Rainbows.co.uk/superdraw, email lottery@rainbows.co.uk or contact Gill on 01509 638056. Tickets can also be bought in the Rainbows shops in Melton, Market Harborough, Blaby and Matlock.

  • Gold at the end of the Rainbow!

  • Duchess of Cambridge offers message of support for Children’s Hospice Week


    Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, has offered a supportive message for Children’s Hospice Week.

    Led by national charity Together for Short Lives, Children’s Hospice Week (11-17 May) brings together the UK’s 53 children’s hospices and children’s palliative care services who provide vital care and support for children and families across the country.

    This year Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge has offered a message of support:

    “For families of children with life-limiting conditions, every moment is precious and every memory needs to be cherished and celebrated. Children’s hospices strive to create happy moments in the most difficult times any family could face. I hope you will join me in supporting Children’s Hospice Week and work to make every moment count for all of our families.”

  • Join our magical fairytale family trail. It’s the 2015 Rainbows Walk of Life!

    WOL Jess

    It’s time to put on those glass slippers and get ready to ‘let it go’, as we invite you, your family and friends to sign up for this year’s fabulous fairy tale themed Walk of Life.

    The event takes place on Sunday 28th June at Watermead Country Park in Syston, Leicester and will feature special guest appearances from popular fairy tale characters, including Anna, Elsa and Olaf.

    Families are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite characters and can choose to take part in the one, three or ten mile route. Walkers are welcome to bring along a picnic and enjoy a host of activities throughout the day including a bouncy castle, inflatable slide and action packed obstacle course.

    Registration costs just £5 for adults and £3 for those under 15 years old. This year, children can also sign up to an Enchanted Treasure Hunt for just £2 and be in with a chance of winning an amazing Monsters University Edition LeapPad2 (worth £85).

    Last year’s event was a huge success, attracting over 500 people and raising more than £19,000 for Rainbows.

    Katie Baxter, community and events manager at Rainbows, said: “Every year, we try something different to make the event more exciting for our regular supporters, as well as grabbing the interest of new walkers. There will be lots of activities to keep children entertained and dogs are welcome too – there really is something for everyone. So dust off those walking shoes, sign up and help us to raise money to support those families who need us the most.”

    For further information or to register, visit www.rainbows.co.uk/walkoflife, call 0800 9521133 or email fundraising@rainbows.co.uk.

  • Make a Will, Save Money and Support Rainbows in May!

    MAWM Banner2015 Press Release

    Solicitors across Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire are offering a saving of more than fifty percent to encourage people to make a Will and leave a lasting legacy to children and young people with life-limiting and terminal illnesses.

    The annual Make a Will Month campaign takes place throughout May, during which time people can make an appointment with one of the many firms taking part to have a new simple single Will written for only £45 + VAT (normally £120 + VAT). In recognition of the offer, Rainbows hopes that people may wish to leave a gift to the charity when writing their Will.

    Last year, the care of one in five children at Rainbows was funded through gifts in Wills alone. If every Rainbows supporter left £100 in their Will, it would add up to more than £4.8million, enough to run the hospice for a whole year.

    Leaving a gift of £25 could pay for a music therapy session, giving a child or young person the opportunity to express themselves through music, £50 would help fund bereavement support for a family, while £100 would provide a one hour session for a ventilated child in a hydrotherapy pool.

    Patricia Brookes, director of fundraising at Rainbows Hospice, said: “We understand that people will most likely be thinking of their family and friends when making a Will, but by leaving a donation to Rainbows too, it can help us to continue providing care for the children and young people who rely on the Hospice.

    “Even if you have a Will, which less than half of the UK population currently do, perhaps you would consider adding a codicil leaving a gift to Rainbows. All of the legacies we receive add up, no matter how small, and without your support, we simply wouldn’t be able to open our doors.

    “The typical cost for writing a single Will is around £120 plus VAT so people who take part in our Make a Will Month will make a huge saving from the offset.”

    For more information on how you can support Rainbows Make a Will Month and to find a discounted solicitor, contact Helen Graham on 01509 638027, email Helen.Graham@rainbows.co.uk or visit www.rainbows.co.uk/wills

  • TV presenter Anne Davies urges people to support our latest stock campaign

    12 March 2015

    Anne Davis Retail

    “Losing a stone was easy, I just gave it away.” is the message from TV presenter and Rainbows Patron Anne Davies as she urges people to support us.

    Today, Anne has helped Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People to launch a stock donation campaign – I lost a stone in a day, the Rainbows Way. We want people to donate their clothes to our shops across the East Midlands losing excess weight quickly by shedding all of those heavy garments.

    We need people to clear out their wardrobes and donate unwanted clothes to our shops in Matlock, Melton, Market Harborough, Beeston or Blaby or direct to the hospice in Loughborough.

    Anne, who became a Rainbows Patron last June, was delighted to back the campaign and hand over a bag of her unwanted garments. She said: “As people often want a fresh start in the new year, it’s an ideal time to have a clear out of your wardrobe. Even a clothing hoarder like me finds it very therapeutic sorting out cupboards and it’s wonderful to know that I can help Rainbows by donating the clothes I no longer wear. It is so easy to get involved with this stock drive and I challenge as many people as possible across the East Midlands to fill a bag of clothes and drop it in to Rainbows.”

    Donating clothes worth £10 could help to fund two days’ worth of oxygen for a child, £25 could help fund one hour of physiotherapy and clothes worth £50 could go towards one day of care for a child or young person.

    Karen Bilsby, head of retail at Rainbows, added: “For an easy way to lose weight and a simple way of helping the hospice, give us your unwanted clothes. You don’t need to give us any money, just items that you don’t wear anymore. In fact, we can get even more money on your clothes if you Gift Aid your donation. As Anne says, it is a great way to shed unwanted pounds, which will make pounds for the hundreds of families we support and help us to keep running our hospice, which is a lifeline for so many families.”

    For more information, visit www.rainbows.co.uk/shops

  • Forest captain becomes Honorary Ambassador for Rainbows

    3 March 2015

    Chris and Jessica at Rainbows

    We are delighted to announce Nottingham Forest captain Chris Cohen as our newest Honorary Ambassador.

    Last year, Chris and his wife, Jess, made a special trip to see us. They were so moved by the children and young people they met, they wanted to get on board and do more for Rainbows.

    As a Rainbows Honorary Ambassador, Chris will support and help to raise our profile. Chris and Jess have already donated more than £3,000 to us which was raised from wedding favours and donations last June.

    Chris said: “When we visited Rainbows, we were struck by what an incredible place it is. It was overwhelming, yet so inspiring, and the children and young people who benefit from the services offered are just fantastic. We met some amazing people at Rainbows and Jess and I want to do all we can to help raise awareness of this fantastic charity and support the children, young people and their families.”

    Patricia Brookes, Director of Fundraising at Rainbows, added: “To have Chris on board is very exciting and we are extremely happy that he has pledged his support to us. Chris is very popular in the Nottinghamshire area and we know his support will be invaluable to Rainbows. We are very grateful to all of our patrons and ambassadors for the wonderful work they do for Rainbows.”

  • Loughborough mum’s challenge raises over £1,000 for Rainbows

    6 February 2015


    A sweet fundraising idea set up by a Loughborough mum to raise money for Rainbows has smashed its £1,000 target.

    Last March, Alison Birkin came up with the Biskitty Challenge, encouraging people to save used biscuit wrappers which can be recycled to raise money for us.

    Not only did people help to surpass the fundraising target, the scheme also scooped a second place award from McVities and Terracycle, a national competition, for collecting the most wrappers.

    Alison said: “’I am thrilled that collecting people’s rubbish can raise such a huge amount for Rainbows. People love the idea as it doesn’t cost them anything to do, and it is also environmentally friendly. I have had great support from the community and we have had lots of businesses and groups get involved from cafes, hairdressers, nursing homes, schools, scouts, guides, WI, conference centres etc. People have told me they are determined to raise another £1,000 in 2015, which is just fantastic.”

    Alison supports us because her daughter Chloe Flanders (20) benefits from respite care at the hospice.

    Money raised through the Biskitty Challenge helps us to support children and young people like Chloe. Chloe was diagnosed with a severe form of Childhood Idiopathic Primary Dystonia – a movement disorder that leads to painful involuntary sustained muscle spasms and involuntary movements – which affected every function of her body.

    Chloe endured Deep Brain Stimulation, pioneering surgery which helped bring her symptoms under more control. She has a battery pack inside her chest which constantly sends electrical impulses to the part of the brain which controls movements to block out the signals which cause the symptoms of Dystonia. But her family never know when her symptoms will come back or in what force.

    Katie Baxter, head of community and events at Rainbows, added: “Alison has done an amazing job and her dedication to Rainbows is just fantastic. It really is a simple challenge that everyone can get involved in just by putting the wrappers aside rather than in the bin. We wouldn’t be able to run our hospice without the support of people like Alison and we thank her so much for her devotion.”

    An average biscuit wrapper weighs around 2.4 grams, which is worth two pence. Inner individual wrappers and outer wrappers of any sweet biscuit are accepted, excluding foil and paper.

    Posting the wrappers is free by requesting a pre-paid postage label. For more information on how to get involved or to request a pre-paid label, visit http://on.fb.me/1qsyfxg, by searching for ‘Biskitty Challenge’ on Facebook, or email biskitty.challenge@gmail.com .

  • Rainbows appoints a new chief executive

    6 January 2015


    We have been hunting for a successor for Geoff Ellis, who announced his retirement in July and long term Rainbows supporter Andy Campbell (53), of Stapleton, took the helm from yesterday (5th) and says he can’t wait.

    “The place is just amazing,” said Andy. “I am really excited about what is ahead. Rainbows is wonderful and I have always loved it. When I heard Geoff was moving on, I thought the job seemed perfect for me.”

    Andy’s first visit around the hospice was in 2010 when the Building for the Future project to create a £4m extension was taking shape. “I thought wow – the difference this place can make to families is incredible,” he said.

    “I have lots of ideas for my new role at Rainbows – things we can develop and things that we might change; Geoff has done a fantastic job building Rainbows to where it is now and whatever we do, we mustn’t lose sight of what a fantastic place it is already.”

    With a background in aeronautical engineering and system analysis, Andy and a business partner set up an IT consultancy company in 1992 before developing a software product for charities called thankQ. This was rolled out to more than 300 charities including Rainbows.

    He said: “I have run a commercial business for years, working closely with a wide range of charities, helping them to be more effective, which has set me up for this role

    “Over the years, I ran my own business and have done things for me; now it’s time to change; to do things for others. My father was a teacher, headmaster and a minister and he always had a job that gave something back to the community. I always wanted to do the same. The timing is absolutely right for this role for me.

    “I can’t wait to get started. I don’t know what the next steps will be but I know it will be exciting.”

    In his spare time Andy loves to paraglide as well as spending time travelling and walking with his wife, Nic, and two dogs. He also relishes time with his children and grandson.

    Geoff Ellis added: “I wish Andy every success for the future and am delighted to welcome him to the role; I am confident that he will be a first class Chief executive for the hospice.

    “Rainbows has more than doubled in size in the last seven years and provides care to children and young people with more complex needs than ever before. I feel hugely privileged to have been able to play my part in “Team Rainbows” working alongside the most dedicated staff and volunteers you could ever meet, I will miss them incredibly. During my tenure I have constantly been amazed by the generosity of our donors and supporters from across the East Midlands without whom we simply wouldn’t survive, and for that I thank you all.”

  • Rainbows has launched its Christmas appeal.

    21 November 2014

    Light up a life

    The Light up a Life appeal invites people to celebrate the memory of a loved one who has sadly passed away, or to acknowledge a treasured person by dedicating a light on the special Tree of Lights at the hospice.

    Each dedication will be acknowledged with a commemorative Christmas card and we will add the name of loved ones to its Book of Remembrance, which is on display at the hospice during the festive period. We will also send people a special Light up a Life pin badge.

    Katie Baxter, events and community manager at Rainbows, said: “Christmas is a time to think about those people we love and we invite you to dedicate a light on our special Tree of Lights at the hospice that will shine brightly during the festive period for them.Your light can be to celebrate the memory of a loved one, to acknowledge a special person in your life or as a special Christmas gift. At Rainbows, we care for more than 309 children and young people. We also support 278 bereaved families and 522 siblings and all the money raised will go towards supporting them.”

    A donation of £10 could help to fund two days’ worth of oxygen for a child, £25 could help fund one hour of physiotherapy and £50 could go towards one day of care for a child or young person.

    There is no minimum donation for a light and all money raised will go to support the work of Rainbows. For more information, visit www.rainbows.co.uk/lightupalife or contact 01509 638000.

  • People could win £3,000 in Rainbows Christmas raffle

    24th October 2014

    Superdraw 2014png

    We have launched our first ever Christmas raffle and people could scoop £3,000.

    Tickets are now available for our annual Superdraw. Now in its eighth year, Superdraw plays a crucial part in raising the necessary funds needed to keep Rainbows running each year. Last year’s Superdraw raised £23,500.

    As well as the top prize of £3,000, cash prizes of £500, £250 and £50 are up for grabs. The draw will take place on Friday 19 December, and tickets, which cost just £1, can be purchased until Monday 15 December.

    Gill Smitherman, Rainbows lottery manager, said: “We usually run the Superdraw in summer but because it is our 20th birthday year, we wanted to hold the draw at Christmas, making it extra special for people. The design on the tickets has been made by some of our children, who used their fingerprints to make the robins; it’s also one of our Christmas card images this year.

    “At Rainbows, we care for hundreds of families and by just buying one ticket; you’ll be making a difference to lives of the children, young people and families we support each and every day. Buying a Superdraw ticket would make a wonderful Christmas gift to the children here at Rainbows.”

    To buy tickets, contact Gill on 01509 638056, email lottery@rainbows.co.uk, or visit www.Rainbows.co.uk/superdraw. Tickets can also be bought in the Rainbows shops in Melton, Market Harborough, Blaby and Matlock.