Operations & Bookings
How do I register with Challengers?
Wonderful news! We’d be happy to have you and your child on board! You can complete the registration process online. Please note that once you’ve registered the system will take time to process this and you will not be able to book anything immediately.
I’ve registered online - how do I start booking sessions?
Once you’ve registered we need to authorise your account. When we’ve done this you’ll receive an email thanking you for registering and inviting you to book a first visit. After attending this session you’ll be able to book sessions online or over the phone. During booking periods we can enable your account to book sessions before attending a first visit but a first visit must be completed before you can attend the sessions.
A space this weekend is showing as green on the website, but it won’t let me book! Why is this?
Unfortunately, if an event is within the next 14 days and is showing green, it doesn’t necessarily mean we have a space available. We assign all our staff 2 weeks in advance, meaning during the 14 day period we have the number of staff needed for the current number of children booked in. Get in touch with us and we can contact the scheme for you to see if they can accommodate an extra young person – unfortunately though this is not always possible.
My child is on the waiting list but I haven’t heard anything. Are there any spaces available?
We understand that if can be very frustrating if you are waiting for a space at one of our schemes. We can only call people who are on the waiting list if there has been a cancellation – these can happen any time; from months in advance to the morning of the session. As soon as we get a cancellation we look at the waiting list and will call and email you to invite you along. Unfortunately, if you don’t hear from us, it means there aren’t any spaces available.
When’s the next booking period?
I made a cancellation and got a credit note. How do I use the credit note?
If you make a cancellation more than 5 working days in advance you will be issued with a credit note for the session. This credit note is put onto your Challengers account. If you have paid the original invoice in full you can use this credit note to pay for a session in the future. When you make your next booking online use the pay on account option. You will then need to contact the finance department on 01483 230589 to process your payment and deduct the credit note.
I am struggling to afford Challengers fees. Can I get help?
Please see our Challengers Concession policy to see if you qualify for reduced fees.
What are Challengers payment terms?
Challengers payment terms are payment at time of booking. Payment can be made by debit/credit card, cheque made payable to Challengers, bank transfer or childcare voucher.
The recruitment process – what do we need from you?
In order to ensure we are employing the safest and best possible Play and Youth Workers to work at Challengers schemes there are a number of processes you must complete.
The interview process comprises a group recruitment event which lasts a couple of hours and includes a number of group activities to see how playful you are and how well you work in a team as well as some administration to prove you are who you say you are!
Once you have successfully completed the interview process we will carry out a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to make sure you have no criminal activity that would exclude you from working with children or vulnerable adults. This involves completing a form and providing us with current address and photo ID. We then send this off to the DBS and once they have completed their checks they send you a certificate, which you have to pass on to us. The process takes on average 3 weeks. If you have joined the DBS Update Service please let us know at your interview.
We also gather 2 references from previous employers or people who know you well (although not your family) to say whether they think you are suitable for the work.
You must also complete and return (preferably by email) the recruitment paperwork (Terms and Conditions, Tax form, Medical Questionnaire and New Employee form) that we have sent you – these documents are all mandatory before you start working for us so please return them quickly so your start date is not delayed.
Alongside this administration you must complete an induction.
What does the induction consist of?
The first section of the induction process is the new recruit training day which is normally 9.30am to 4pm. You will be invited and given specific details once you have successfully passed an interview.
After this you will have an induction to the scheme that you will work at. The induction can vary from scheme to scheme. Normally though it’s a couple of hours during a day when the scheme is running where you will be shown around and introduced to both staff and children or young people. The Leader will give you useful information about working at Challengers and what we expect from you as well as what you can expect from us.
How does the probationary period work?
During your probationary period you will receive on the job training and support to help you learn the role. This time is given so that you and your line managers can work together to make sure that the job is right for you, and that you are right for it!
If you do not want to carry on working for us during this time period you need to give one week’s notice.
Once you have successfully completed the probationary period you will become a permanent member of the Challengers Team!
What are Challengers schemes opening times?
You will need to check the specific schemes that you are working at for the exact days and times – you can do this by reviewing your rota.
If you are working at a Playscheme you will need to arrive and be ready to start at 9am.
If you are working at a Youth or Young Adult Scheme you need to arrive and be ready to start at 9.30am.
(Saturdays and holidays, After School Clubs, Youth Nights and Young Adult Nights are different).
How does the rota work?
We use an online booking system to arrange our rota for schemes. You will be allowed access to this once you have completed all of the recruitment processes and will be sent details and instructions at that time. You login using your email address and a password that we set you up with (these will be confirmed in the email).
Once you are logged in you can use a calendar to see the events that are available to book on to – book as many as you want to at the scheme that you work at. If you want to move scheme or work at multiple schemes you must get the approval of the scheme leaders involved before making bookings at different schemes.
Once staff have made their bookings, Leaders and Project Officers will review and change your booking to a confirmed shift where you are needed to work. You will be emailed to say bookings have been confirmed but you can also ‘View My Rota’ on the booking website.
Where you have said you are available it will say ‘I can work this day’ where the shift is confirmed it states ‘On rota for this day’. If you have questions about your bookings please ask your scheme Leader or your scheme’s Project Officer.
How do we pay staff?
Zero hours and hourly paid staff are paid one month in arrears, on the 25th of each month, into the bank account that you specified in your appointment paperwork. For example: any work you do in the month of June will be paid into your bank account on 25th July.
Will I ever be asked to work at other schemes?
Some of our staff work at multiple sites and some are occasionally asked to work at other schemes to help where there are staff shortages.
If you are only 16 or 17 you would only be able to work at a Playscheme. Once you are 18 you can work at Youth or Young Adult Schemes.
We would always ask you, not tell you, to work elsewhere and it is unlikely unless you can get a lift either from another staff member or drive yourself. It would only ever be at a Challengers scheme and you wouldn’t be asked until you had the confidence and experience to go to a new scheme.
How do ‘zero hours contracts’ work; what are the minimum or guaranteed hours?
The contract does not guarantee hours, but there is an expectation to work either three Saturdays a month or two evenings and/or three days during holidays, although there is flexibility around this.
We believe that staff members need to be at a scheme regularly, in order to deliver a good quality service to the children that attend. If a staff member doesn’t attend regularly, they will not get to know the children, their colleagues or the role well.
We ask for staff availability to be provided via our booking website as early as possible. Once availability has been provided and the shifts have been confirmed, we do not expect these to be cancelled without plenty of notice or good reason. You may be asked to arrange cover with a colleague should you need to cancel a shift.
We are entitled to expect you to work for us, provided we give you one week’s notice. Whilst this is a standard clause in zero hours contracts, it is not how we rota our staff teams, as we need to be more prepared for adequate cover for the children who attend schemes. If you have provided availability on the booking website, but have not been given a shift, we may subsequently ask you to work if other staff members cancel shifts.
How does the holiday entitlement work?
Our zero hours and hourly paid staff are paid a percentage of their working hours extra each month, as holiday pay – this shows as a separate line on pay slips.
When you want to take holiday you must tell your leader and not add any availability to those dates.
If you already have shifts booked for the dates you want to go away then you need to give plenty of notice for your shifts to be cancelled in order that we can cover them.
You may be asked to find cover for yourself if you are asking for leave at short notice where you had shifts already booked.
Is it ok to work elsewhere?
Yes. Lots of our staff work 2 or more part time jobs, and as long as you are able to commit the minimum amount of shifts to us we have no problem with staff members working elsewhere.
We just ask that you tell us about them, especially if it involves working with Challengers families.
How do I know if I am working?
Log into the booking website.
Click on the ‘view my rota’ tab at the top of the page and click start date. For each date look at the status section – if it says ‘on rota for this day’ it means you are booked on and will be expected into work, if it says ‘I can work this day’ it means you have given your availability but have not yet been booked on.
If it says N/A and ‘Available for work’ it means you have been added to the pool and we are aware you are available to work.
What is 'the Pool'?
If you are in the pool, it means that you have put down your availability for a scheme but they do not need you to work that day.
You are still available to work and may be contacted to work at another scheme that day.
What do I need to wear?
You should always wear your orange Challengers t-shirt, with trousers or shorts that are comfortable and easy to move around in.
You should wear shoes that are easy to get on/off.
Who do I tell if I need to cancel or change a shift?
If you need to cancel a shift for any reason you must phone your Leader or Project Officer giving as much notice as possible.
You should not email as you cannot be sure that your message has been received.
Fundraising and Communications
Who do I contact regarding media enquiries?
How do I organise my own fundraising event for Challengers?
How do I make a donation to Challengers?
It’s really simple! Visit our Donations page and find out how to donate.
There is a problem with my regular donation - who do I need to contact?
What fundraising events are coming up?
Visit our events page and see all the exciting events coming up.
How can my business get involved with Challengers?
We value our partnerships and if you are interested in getting involved visit our Company Support page.
How old do I need to be to volunteer with the children and young people?
We are pleased to take Volunteers from all ages but you must be at least 15 to be a Play Volunteer and 18 to be a Youth Volunteer.
Where is my closest scheme?
Visit the What we do page to view where and when our schemes run across Hampshire, Berkshire, and Surrey.
How long does it take to be recruited and start volunteering?
On average it can take 6-8 weeks from application to volunteering on scheme.
Do I need to come to an interview?
We assess all Volunteers prior to volunteering on scheme to check they are mature, resourceful, and playful enough to cope with the sometimes boisterous nature of the environment. Once you have applied we will invite you to a recruitment evening where you will complete a DBS, have an informal chat with a Project Officer or Leader, complete a written safeguarding test, and carry out a play activity. This is also a chance for you to decide if it’s the right choice.
Do I need any special training or qualifications?
No, but you can’t volunteer with us until you have completed Challengers basic safeguarding and behaviour management training and have received your up to date Enhanced DBS check (this has to be registered with Challengers).
How much time to I need to commit to as a Play or Youth Volunteer at Challengers?
We like to be as flexible as we can with our volunteers. Ideally we are looking for commitments such as
Over 3-6 months
2 Saturdays per month
1 half day every Saturday (as long as we can find cover for the other half day)
1 evening (or more) per week during term time for After School Club (3.30pm start) or a Youth Night (6pm start) – check to see if there is a Youth Night or club in your area
Guildford Swim Club – every Saturday for 2 hours (4-6pm)
Over the school holidays
1-2 days a week in the school holidays
Placement every day over the Easter or Summer holidays
The After School Club only runs for our Guildford and Farnham Schemes 3.30pm to 6pm.
Youth Nights run 6-8pm:
In Basingstoke on Mondays
In Bookham, Caterham, and Farnham on Tuesdays
In Guildford on Thursdays
Do you pay expenses for Volunteers?
Yes – we pay expenses up to 15 miles to and from the place of volunteering.