SMILES and sunshine surrounded the official opening of a brand new centre to help children with physical disabilities.

Regional television presenters and Daily Echo columnists Fred Dinenage and Sally Taylor teamed up to open the new £1m Bradbury Building for The Rainbow Centre charity in Fareham, which helps children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

With brand new facilities the organisation has been able to realise a 16-year dream to bring groundbreaking Conductive Education from centres in Hungary to more and more children in the south of England.

"We have many success stories," said appeals director and co-founder Helen Somerset How.

Describing the beginnings of the charity, which started in her living room before moving to a gym at Furzebrook School, Helen told the audience of supporters, local dignitaries, parents and special guests how some children who were told they would never walk, were now able to use their legs successfully thanks to the therapy the Rainbow Centre provides.

"It really is down to work of the staff here and it is all for the children," she said.

Helen added that in the days leading up to the unveiling ceremony, staff at the Rainbow Centre had a shock to find inspectors from Ofsted knocking on the door for a two-day inspection.

"It was quite a shock as we were already so busy. But when they finished they gave us an Outstanding' result for each of the five categories.

"I knew it would be fine though, I have every faith in the staff and knew we would do well," she said.

Supporting the charity, Sally Taylor said the centre was close to her heart as she had raised money for the organisation in one of the first Great South Runs.

"It is a wonderful place to see and a wonderful thing to be part of," said Sally.

Fred Dinenage also praised the courage of children and families at the centre.

He said: "It is a fantastic achievement and I'm very proud to be associated with the Rainbow Centre. It's been a brilliant achievement for everyone concerned."

As well as thanking supporters and staff at the centre, Helen also praised the help from Fareham Borough Council, which offered the charity the land at Cams Alders for the centre.

"We're not finished yet though, we've still got a garden to build and we are looking for lots of support.

"This is just the beginning," she added.

For more information about the Rainbow Centre visit

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