A support group for families of children with autism and other special needs is hoping to raise enough money to set up a community support hub for children, teens and young adults.
Rainbow Stars has already run a pilot community hub scheme in an commercial unit on Sleaford’s Enterprise Park, offering a safe place for home educated children with special educational needs, older teens and young adults who no longer have a school or college placement.
Run by volunteers, they aim to provide stimulating activities, such as Lego therapy, art/music therapy, pet therapy, learning sign language and it will be a “safe place” where everyone can interact and be together without judgement.
Jane Peck from Rainbow Stars said the pilot scheme over the last couple of months has proven to be more successful than they could have hoped and they are now applying for charitable status to source future funding, but an ideal premises has become available in town with easy access and they do not want to miss the chance to get established.
Jane said: “We have outgrown ourselves, with 1,040 members. We advertise an event and it is snapped up in minutes.
“We have a lot of young adults out of work and home schoolers and have been trialling the community hub in a rented space and it has been amazing seeing adults and children helping each other.”
Open each week day they will work with young adults wanting to learn life skills, like cooking, growing vegetables and gardening. They offer support with CVs, mock interviews and any other support for work prospects.
They also provide support for carers and direct to external agencies as necessary as well as offering coffee mornings and regular meet-ups for carers.
Jane said: “We have been offered a huge room for hire with kitchen and toilets and we can have a sensory area, tables and chairs for messy play and storage space, but we need enough funds to cover £5,000 to cover the first six months’ rent. It will be available from September and ideally we want to be in it by October. This opprtu8nity is too good to miss.”
They have set up a fundraising page at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/rainbow-stars-hub and organising a fundraising event on September 7 at the Barge and Bottle pub from 12-5pm.
Two men are bravely having their chests waxed and another is having their hair shaved, as is young Ellis Owen by having his head shaved after being a member of Rainbow Stars for the last five years.
There will be cakes, tombola, a raffle, games and book.
Jane said: “We have some amazing support from NKDC and the Rotary Club.”
Sleaford Lions have also donated towards their fifth anniversary celebrations on November 1.