Belinda Eckermann took the lead for pulling together the Rainbow Bats for Will Exhibition and in doing so inspired the largest number of artists to date to paint for Will at one showing.

Just over 90 existing and new creatives came from far and wide but predominately from the Rainbow community, a town of 700. Truck drivers, gardeners, retirees, welders, farmers and the most amazing collection of known artists. Together they raised close to $10,000, created a relationship with one of Victorias most respected disability services and committed to building and delivering a new service to support those families living with intellectual disabilities in their town. The commitment and determination from Belinda has been nothing short of overwhelming for us.

I guess the difference with our Charity is that we don’t go into a town expecting change. We invite them to meet us. We invite them to listen. And we invite them to act if they choose. Nothing is forced or taken for granted. The moment the funds are raised and a commitment to act is realised there is one request. To use the funds to create a service or program that builds an environment and a sense of real belonging for our families. Something that allows them to learn new skills, realise a passion, open pathways for friendship and new experiences.

So the idea for the Rainbow Innovation Centre came to be. A centre with art and gardening as the source of inspiration and an invitation for the town to be involved.

Philosophy We believe that everyone has the right to be treated equally and live in an inclusive environment. Everyone has their own unique set of abilities which contribute to our society in a meaningful way. 

Mission First and foremost, this program will run for those with disability however, it will be open to the community to support and participate for inclusivity. The program will focus on the arts for personal healing, development and skill sharing. It will also offer opportunities for social enterprise to gain real life work support and experience. Opportunities will be made to learn through instructional projects or the development of their own artistic ideas and the contribution to the development of a sensory garden.

Vision Inclusivity is achieved within the community of Rainbow and more opportunities are created. Those living with disabilities will have a means to ensure their goals are met through the support of those around them and the achievement of personal goals. This includes support and training in all areas of daily living assistance including personal care, social support, community access, household tasks and life transitioning. A sensory garden will be a place of peace and therapy for all to access and stimulate the senses. It will also provide materials for social enterprises run by the group.

Goals/Purpose:

One on one mentoring, group activities, guided and self-guided programming, training and skill development, awards and recognition and annual exhibition to showcase talents