In an unassuming building, in the centre of Folkestone, work is quietly taking place which is transforming the lives of those who walk through its doors.
The Rainbow Centre has been responding to the needs of individuals and families facing crises in Folkestone since 1985.
The centre works in partnership with a number of services and with Churches Together in Folkestone to run a daily Crisis Drop-in. The bright, airy communal area belies the fact that those who come in here are facing some of the lowest points in their life.
The Drop-In is there to support them through those times, and in the long-term, to put them back on their feet and back into society.
Jon Wilson the Chief Executive explains how the Crisis Drop-In works: “In addition to a warm welcome and the offer of a cup of tea or coffee, we offer support on a number of levels, including directing people to specialist organisations offering support for finding accommodation. For those who are homeless, we have a shower room with washing and drying machines.
“We can also help with completing official forms, signposting people to various organisations for appropriate help as well as providing an emergency food bag and basic toiletries for those in a crisis, particularly for people who are homeless or have no income.”
One couple who are proof of why the work of the Rainbow Centre is so important, are Lisa and Graham. Through a series of unfortunate occurances – the loss of a job, the falling through of promised accommodation, a bout of illness – Lisa and Graham went from a couple with their own flat and jobs, to homeless, penniless and contemplating suicide:.
“There’s a bench on the cliffs at Capel.” explains Graham, “We were sitting their one day and suddenly said, who would miss us if we went? We didn’t think anyone actually would.”
They visited the Crisis Drop-in, and with the help of the centre staff, they were put in touch with a variety of services which could help them. Lisa is adamant that without them, they would not still be here.
“They’ve given us the courage to carry on through this nightmare…They asked what we need – but more than that it is the friendliness and the respect…”
The Crisis Drop-In is just one part of the centre’s valuable work. Other services include; a soup kitchen; a Winter Shelter project; a family Contact Centre, which provides a safe
environment where parents who are separated can be with their children in a supervised and enjoyable setting; two pre-schools and a charity shop.
To find out more about the Rainbow Centre and how you could support their work visit: http://www.folkestonerainbowcentre.org.uk/