JMW official charity extends services to disabled children

15th July 2014 Clinical Negligence

By Joanne Mawdsley, founder of the Legacy Rainbow House

The Legacy Rainbow House provides therapy, support and care to children with disabilities and other life-limiting conditions and is the official charity of the JMW medical negligence team.

In this guest blog its founder Joanne Mawdsley talks about the new development that is underway at its site in Mawdesley, Ormskirk which will enable the Legacy to meet the needs of more children with life-limiting conditions.

Hello my name is Joanne Mawdsley and I am the founder of the Legacy Rainbow House. The charity started life back in 2001 when I employed a therapist to provide conductive education to my boys, who live with a brain injury. I am a parent and I was lonely, isolated and depressed, therefore I surrounded myself with like-minded parents, and in doing so we helped our children to help themselves, empowering us as parents. Conductive Education helps children predominantly with cerebral palsy and other brain injuries/disabling conditions. It's an holistic approach, supporting the whole development of the child, physically, emotionally and cognitively etc. Over the following years I set about raising millions of pounds to build a dedicated centre to house and provide services to help as many children as possible. The centre was built in 2007 and officially opened by HRH Princess Anne.

Today the charity has changed beyond recognition and supports more than 200 children and young adults with disabilities, brain injury and life limiting conditions. We have helped some of these children to achieve things their parents never thought would be possible. We have done this with the help of the local community and companies such as JMW Solicitors who have tirelessly raised money and provided vital on-going sponsorship.

However as the children who started with us as tiny tots grow into young adults, and other children in need of rehabilitation, such as those requiring postoperative rehabilitation due to cancer, accidents or illness, turn to us for help, we need to extend the services we provide. Working together with Junior Autism Group and ADHD Lancashire, our aim is to provide a fully inclusive provision of activities aimed to maximise the potential development of each child, young person or adult.

The older children particularly need greater investment in equipment, personal hygiene facilities, sports, recreational activities and access to workshops to advance volunteering opportunities and mentoring during the transitional years of young people. We aim to provide activities, which will develop their abilities and increase their quality of life. These young people need to achieve greater independence and with our help they can do so.

That's why in 2011 I developed an idea for a new 'enablement hub' on the same site as the Legacy that could meet these urgent needs. The plans are now turning into a reality and we hope to open in the next few months with the exterior of the building having been built. This has been achieved with the help of many kind donations and we cannot thank those who have supported us financially enough. The picture below shows our progress.

However there is still much to do to complete the interior, which will include dedicated therapy rooms, a kitchen specially adapted for disabled young people and modern personal hygiene facilities. We are currently fundraising for this element to ensure it is finished as quickly as possible and are appealing for financial donations, as well time and materials from tradesmen who might be able to help us get the hub opened as soon as possible and start delivering these urgently needed services.

For more information about the enablement hub or to find out how you can help please email me on

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Eddie Jones is a Partner and Head of Department located in Manchesterin our Clinical Negligence department

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