Celebrating 50 years
50 years ago a chance encounter inspired the creation of Rainbow Club. In 1969, Ron Siddons, Beach Inspector and man of action, saw a father trying to enjoy the water with his disabled son. The child was placed in an inner tube of a car tyre for floatation. Ron said, “The poor little chap kept going under. I wondered why someone hadn’t tried to design a costume for these kiddies and I decided to do something about it.”
From that moment, Ron and his wife Lily dedicated their lives to developing opportunities, equipment and techniques for children with disability to enjoy the water – safely. Today, Rainbow Club teachers share their passion and hundreds of children with a disability are enabled to participate in a fun and safe community to swim, interact, and play.
View our Celebrating 50 Years of Rainbow Club video to hear more
About Rainbow Club
Rainbow Club’s Founders, Ron and Lily Siddons, believed all children – including children with a disability, had the right to learn to swim, be safe, and experience fun and freedom in the water. Their vision for Rainbow Club is as true today as it was in 1969. Ron’s original vitality and persistence continues to shine throughout Rainbow Club.
In 2012 Rainbow Club had sixteen autonomous clubs and received no formal government funding. It relied on ClubGrants, the Malabar Magic annual fundraising event, local fundraising, and donations. Times were tough, dark clouds hovered, and the Board had serious concerns about the ongoing financial viability of the organisation.
Through the efforts of our strong and skilled Board members, Rainbow Club received a small pot of gold, a one-off grant of $250,000 from the NSW Government – sufficient funds to invest in systems and processes, to establish new Clubs and ensure the long term sustainability and future of Rainbow Club.
Rainbow Club is now a vibrant, robust and centrally managed charity with Registered NDIS Provider status. Providing governance, oversight and support to our network of social swimming clubs throughout NSW, the Board is committed to expanding Rainbow Club’s footprint and building capacity to provide individualised swim lessons and social participation for 1000+ children with a disability. See Our People
- Grew our membership capacity by 57%
- Expanded our Club network from 14 to 22
- Designed and implemented our Swim the Rainbow program to give structure to our lessons
- Engaged with our stakeholders annually at Rainbow Connect
- Raised approximately $1 million in fundraising activities to subsidise costs and make Rainbow Club an affordable weekend activity
- Created a technology platform that has capacity for growth
- Developed strong back office systems for supporting the volunteers who run our Clubs
- Became a registered NDIS Provider (National Disability Insurance Scheme)
From the archives
A timeline of Rainbow Club highlights celebrating 50 years 1969 to 2019
Leadership, funding and reframing enables Rainbow Club to grow and go from strength to strength, providing individualised swim lessons and social participation for children with a disability.
A new Board reaches out to their networks to raise awareness and Rainbow Club grows from one club to sixteen clubs, but tough times start to take hold.
Love what we do?
Rainbow Club appreciates the donations which enable us to increase our capacity so children with a disability can receive regular swimming lessons.
Bexley, Bondi, Byron Bay, Campbelltown, Cherrybrook, Cronulla/Miranda, Holsworthy, Hornsby, Hurstville, Kurri Kurri, Lane Cove, Liverpool, Maroubra, Mt Pritchard, Newington/Stanmore, Northmead, Orange, Penrith, Revesby, Southern Highlands, Seven Hills, Sutherland, Tamworth, The Ponds, Villawood, Warriewood, Warringah. See details