Sue McDermott OBE, Non-Exec Direcetor of Rainbows GB, receives her OBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace

23 October 2017

 “What a wonderful experience!!
I received my OBE from the Queen on Friday at Buckingham Palace. I was able to tell her a little about Rainbows.

It was marvelous to hear her very positive comments on the impact of all we do. A huge thanks to everyone who has supported Rainbows in any way over the last 25 years. Here's to the next 25 years.”

Rainbows’ is a national charity working in schools to support young people suffering bereavement and loss. Bereavement is defined as ‘the condition of having been deprived of someone you value through death, family breakdown, imprisonment etc. In a class of 30 children, 1 or 2 may have lost a parent through death but it is likely that up to 15 may be living with family breakdown. They suffer all the emotions of loss but often without any recognition of the trauma caused when emotions are repressed. We then see the results when so many young people suffer depression and end up with mental health problems.

In the pictures you can see Sue receiving her OBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace. It is wonderful to be recognised in this way and we hope it will help us to get some funding as this has always been a great difficulty.

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Rainbows has excellent, extensive resources to support young people through a 12 week programme, in a supportive environment, with trained personnel. Training is provided for school staff to enable them to identify youngsters in need and to point them and their parents towards such a programme.

The organisation is run on a largely voluntary basis and even though it started in the Catholic Schools it is now available to all young people from 3 to 18 with additional programmes for use with children who have special needs and those at University and College levels. Bishop John Rawsthorne, who was a Trustee, said, “Where the Church has treasures, she must share them with all”. So Rainbows has been available to all schools and not just the Catholic sector for many years now.

I joined Rainbows in 1995 when it was just beginning, then in 1999 I was asked to take on as National Director which I did until 2007. The current National directors work one in the North and one in the South. In my time I trained schools from Glasgow to South Wales as well as London and the Home Counties. Sue McDermott, a retired Headteacher from Doncaster took over the running and is now the Non-executive Director of Rainbows, overseeing all the work up and down the country. 

Over the years the Institute has been most supportive, recognising that now there are so few Sisters working in Education, it is an excellent way to support young people, especially so as the need is so often not seen.

Divorce and separation are now so frequent that they are becoming the norm and taken for granted. The pain endured by young people cannot be overestimated. Because it is so often repressed it is only in teenage years that it is noticed and up to now little has been done to help them.
Rainbows is constantly seeking funding but because we are seen as ‘Catholic’, Children in Need and Comic Relief etc., do not respond.

The Institute has given an annual donation and allowed me to become a Trustee as well as a few years ago allowing us to move our Resource Centre from Luton to a part of our Convent in Oldham on a much reduced rent.

Please consider Rainbows when deciding on charities to support.
Frank McDermott, retired Director of Education for the Diocese of Hallam, is now Chair of Trustees.

 Sr. Philippa Kohlbecker
CH