Recession forces treatment charge
A charity which provided free physical therapy for children with disabilities has been forced to start charging for treatment because of the recession.
The Legacy Rainbow House in Mawdesley, west Lancashire, said increasing numbers were using its facilities for treatment unavailable on the NHS.
But it warned some services could be closed because a drop in donations had led to a budget deficit.
The centre has launched a fundraising appeal to raise £1m.
Founder Joanne Mawdsley said the appeal was needed to address the centre's "severe financial crisis" and admitted the decision to start charging had been difficult.
"We've never charged for these services before and I never wanted to because that may stop parents who really, really need our services even applying to attend here," she told the BBC.
"All those single parents who simply can't afford any sort of fees; the parents who are isolated, lonely and depressed."
The Legacy Rainbow House said it had doubled its intake of children in the last year, forcing them to take on additional staff.
It means parents of children with complex health issues are being charged for specific rehabilitation and therapy services.
The charity hopes to attract up to 50,000 supporters - or regular donors - to help keep the centre running.
BBC, 3rd April 2009