Rainbow Centre - Update - Trish Kinsella

Wed, Jan 9th 2019 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

At the Downe Arms

Somewhere over the Rainbow - homeless people get help


The clubs year kicked off with a talk from Trish Kinsella, Rainbow Centre Manager and Keith Revell, a Trustee outlining the story behind this social action project.

Apparently, it all began 23 years ago when the local vicar Bob Jackson wanted to help homeless people in the town and decided to set up the Rainbow Centre.

In the early days the centre would handle 1 or 2 homeless people a week offering meal tickets, now it has 2,100 clients with 365 new clients added in 2018.

Trish, bred and born in Scarborough, started at the centre as a volunteer co-ordinator rising to deputy manager, then being appointed to the manager’s position 19 years ago.

When she started she would see 8/9 people in a typical day but now it is not uncommon to handle 80/90 people a day.

She estimates that there are 11 homeless people on the streets of the town now, based on the fact Rainbow staff are out weekly making sure they have food and dry clothes.

Over the festive period this year they made up 900 food parcels and handed out 400 Christmas presents to local children.

She thanked Mark Shields for arranging a trolley to be placed in a local supermarket in the run up to Christmas asking customers to donate food and gifts, which was later doubled by the Aldi supermarket chain.

Whilst the centre was originally established to offer practical support to Castle Ward – an area of the town designated as an urban priority – it now aims to assist a range of community members, including the homeless, families in crisis, as well as individuals facing challenges due to substance misuse, poverty or returning from prison.

It still has a strong church base, but Trish stressed Rainbow is not about being a crouch.

This is borne out by the fact that ninety-two percent of the centres clients only end up with no more than 5 contacts for help.

The centre has seen a growth in recent years of single men, aged 35-50, arriving at their door.

These are men who have lost their partner and as Trish describes them, they simply “walk”.

Keith, who has been a Trustee for the past 12 years, explained that the centre’s annual budget is £100,000 and they are tremendously reliant on donations, as they do not receive much core funding.

They are currently making plans to re-launch the centres well-wishers scheme and are reviewing the skill set of their Trustees, making the point that it not always about giving money that can help Rainbow progress.

The organisation produces an annual impact report outlining the work they have done and the change they have helped to make in local people’s lives.

To illustrate the point Keith mentioned that the Rainbow Centre was referred to in Friarage Primary Schools Ofsted report showing the impact it has on local children’s lives.

 Dealing with the type of clients the centre has on its books is not easy, especially getting them to keep appointments, particularly if they do not have any means of transport.

So the centre arranges a free breakfast every month and other agencies attend giving their clients the opportunity to sort out their current problems whilst being there.

Both Keith and Trish finished by thanking the club for the support it had received over the years, making the point that without this type of assistance they could not do what they do as effectively.

There is no doubt the passion and commitment both Trish and Keith have for the job they do and the town has to be so grateful for the invaluable contribution Rainbow makes to people’s lives in the local community.

As the centre’s slogan states, they certainly do “support, uplift and encourage”.

Mike Wilkinson ( Rotary Scarborough Cavaliers)

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