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Important news about Challengers Surrey Play and Youthschemes

Challengers Star

Every three years Challengers has to apply for funding from Surrey County Council (SCC). We have just had the tender results for 2017-2021 and have been told that we do not have funding for the following schemes:

  • Leatherhead Play
  • Bookham Youth
  • Epsom Play
  • Epsom Youth
  • Godstone Play

What does this mean?

This would mean that following an engagement period with families by SCC, if there was no change, the above schemes will close on the 30th November 2017 (the final day of the scheme will be confirmed).

The new provider in the area will be YMCA East Surrey, who have been awarded the funding.

However, as part of the tender process with SCC, Challengers was awarded funding to continue running a number of existing schemes (excluding the above) and new funding in the Elmbridge area to open a Playscheme and a Youthscheme – information about this will be released in the near future. You can register for Challengers schemes now by heading to our Booking Website. For information on how the booking process works head to the Bookings section of our main website.

To confirm, Challengers schemes in Surrey from December 2017 will be:

  • Guildford Play
  • Guildford Youth
  • Farnham Play
  • Farnham Youth
  • Caterham Youth
  • Elmbridge Play (new for December 2017)
  • Elmbridge Youth (new for December 2017)

What to do next

If you have any questions for us, please do not hesitate to contact Jonathan Dobson (Head of Operations) or Laura Sercombe (CEO) on 01483 579 390.

SCC have confirmed there will be an engagement process for families – please see the statement below from Surrey which details when and how this will take place.

YMCA East Surrey

We have met with YMCA East Surrey to discuss supporting families through this transition and we would encourage you to get in touch with them.

Families can register with YMCA East Surrey on their website.

They are running a parents meeting on 31 May, 7pm-9pm at The YMCA Sovereign Centre (Slipshatch Road, Reigate, RH2 8HA). Ian Burks (CEO) and Kristina Lastoweckyi (Head of Children’s Services) will be there to meet and get to know you.

We will continue to update this page as we know more.

It has been difficult and upsetting to close these schemes when we know that Challengers is a lifeline to families and they have been established in these areas for so long. We are reassured by SCC that there will be services provided by YMCA East Surrey.

These are long standing Challengers schemes and have been running almost 18 years and so closure will be difficult for everyone concerned but we wish YMCA East Surrey well and will support children and young people to transition as much as we can.

Surrey County Council (SCC) have released information about the engagement process for families, please see the below information direct from SCC:

Proposed new short breaks offer – please give us your views

Short breaks are a lifeline for many families of children with disabilities. They provide opportunities for them to have fun, see their friends and try new activities, helping them to achieve better outcomes. They also act as a preventative service helping to avoid family breakdown and the need for more specialist, social care interventions in the future.

We would like your views on the new proposed offer before the County Council’s Cabinet makes its final decision on 18 July 2017.

Every few years, Surrey County Council is legally required to re-issue contracts to providers of short breaks services and we have listened to families and worked with them and our partners during 2016 to design the short breaks services we will buy from our providers in the future.

Whilst this legal process can cause uncertainty for a time, it also has many benefits. It gives us the opportunity to listen to families, explore options for the future and develop the best possible services in response their changing needs. It also helps us ensure that we are spending public funding on the highest quality services that offer the best value for money to our residents. This may mean re-appointing an existing provider, should they put forward the strongest proposals, or a change to a new provider. Finally, it gives our providers an opportunity to be innovative and develop and improve the way they provide services.

Families have helped us shape each stage of the process, from assessing needs, reviewing the current offer and identifying the outcomes families want to achieve from short breaks, to designing the new service and evaluating bid proposals to provide these services. We want to thank families who have engaged with us so far during this process.

From 8 May – 16 June, families are invited to give us their views on the new proposed offer in a number of ways, including:

Drop-in sessions at the following venues across Surrey (no need to book – please just turn up):

  • Monday 15 May, 9.30am to 11am and 7pm to 9pm – Our Lady and St Peter, Garlands Road, Leatherhead, KT22 7EZ
  • Wednesday 17 May, 9.30am to 11am and 7pm to 9pm – Hersham Village Hall, Queens Road, Walton-on-Thames, KT12 5LT
  • Thursday 18 May, 9.30am to 11am and 7pm to 9pm Old Dean Youth Club, Kingston Road, Camberley, GU15 4AF
  • Tuesday 23 May 9.30 to 11am – St Joseph’s Church, 122 Ladbroke Road, Redhill, RH1 1LF
  • Tuesday 9 June, 9.30am to 11am and 6pm to 8.15pm – Greenark Community Hall, Lido Road, Guildford, GU1 1HB

We acknowledge that the outcome of the process has meant proposed changes in some areas and this can be unsettling for families.

Please give us your views about these proposals, how you may be affected by them and if there is anything else we need to do to support families better. The information that you give us will be used to inform the Council’s Cabinet’s final decision on awarding the new contracts on 18 July 2017.

For more information about the engagement please contact:
Surrey County Council Children’s Commissioning: shortbreaks@surreycc.gov.uk – to help us to get back to you quickly please mark your email “engagement feedback”

Family Voice Surrey have been working with us throughout this process to support and engage with families. They can be contacted via their websitecontact@familyvoicesurrey.org – 01372 705 708.