What we do

What we do

Play for everyone

At Challengers, we break down the barriers to play and make it possible for every disabled child and young person to play and have fun, without limits.  

We support children and young people aged 2 – 18 at our range of services, located across the South East of England.

You can help to remove the barriers to play today!

Our Vision

A world where all children and young
people can play together, freely.

What we do
what we do

Our Mission

To transform the lives of disabled children, young people and their families through the power of play.

Why play?

Aside from being fun, play is essential for a child’s cognitive, physical, social, and mental wellbeing and development.

Through play, children learn to build confidence, self-esteem, creativity, and how to interact with others.

Sadly too many disabled young people miss out on play every day. There are many barriers stopping disabled children from playing – from physical impairments and a lack of accessible play facilities, to a time, money and support.

what we do

That’s where Challengers comes in…we remove these barriers by providing truly inclusive play and leisure that everyone can enjoy and join in with, no matter how complex their needs are.

Young people can come to our Pre-school, Play and Youth schemes and experience the same fun and friendship as their non-disabled peers, with activities adapted to suit their unique individual needs. We have been passionate champions of inclusion since the charity was established in 1979, and more than 40 years on, Challengers has grown to provide smiles and laughter to thousands of disabled children and young people

What we do
Children learn best through play!

The difference we make

For many families with disabled children, Challengers is a lifeline that they simply wouldn’t be able to cope without.

Parents can use our Play and Youth schemes to gain respite from the demands of their care responsibilities. They can relax and enjoy time away from their child, knowing that they are safely cared for by trained staff and having a great time with their friends.

Having regular access to short breaks services, like Challengers, helps to keep families strong and together. It’s vitally important for the whole family, not just the young person who attends.

The Challengers Approach

The Challengers Approach is a set of five values which define our organisation.

Truly Inclusive 

We will never exclude a child or young person from our services because of their complex needs or financial situation. We adopt and promote the Social Model of Disability and we believe that society should be committed to developing both inclusive attitudes and practical strategies. We foster an inclusive work environment and value diversity of ideas within and across teams. We are respectful and call out behaviour that is contrary to what we stand for.

Serious about Play 

We know that play is essential for learning and developing skills, and that children and young people require access to a range of activities in order to reach their full potential. We ensure that play is at the heart of everything we do, enabling children and young people to have fun, socialise and experience new things, whilst feeling confident and comfortable to be themselves. We take joy in what we do, we are open, friendly, light-hearted and supportive of each other, we celebrate individual and team success.


We celebrate individuals for who they are and respect their identity, needs, wishes, choices, beliefs and values. For our children and young people this means we provide a high-quality service tailored to their needs and give them freedom to shape their experience at Challengers. For our teams this means giving individuals responsibility, encouragement, flexibility and the opportunity to be creative and help develop their roles.  We are accountable for our actions. For our supporters this means we make sure we manage our resources responsibly and consider the impact of our fundraising decisions on beneficiaries, donors, supporters and the wider public.  


We know that the quality and safety of our service is essential, and so we implement a rigorous safer recruitment process and extensive training and development programme. We uphold the highest ethical and professional standards and approach our working practices with honesty, decency and transparency.  We do what we say we will do. We acknowledge mistakes and honour our promises, we act fairly and with integrity. We build trust through positive relationships and open communication.

Ambitious Together 

We seek to innovate and realise opportunities. We encourage collaborative working across our communities in order to achieve our shared goals and influence societal change. We know our service is a lifeline to families and therefore we are committed to engaging with our children, young people, families, staff and volunteers to improve, grow and exceed expectations. We support each other to learn, achieve and succeed.

We are always looking for more people who share our values to join us. Take a look at our current opportunities and play your part in transforming the lives for disabled children, young people and their families.

Here’s what our parents think:

My sons really love coming to Challengers. It’s a place where they can be themselves and play freely with no judgement. It really has been a lifeline and gives me much needed respite from caring.

My daughter absolutely adores Challengers and I feel completely secure in the knowledge that she’s safe, well cared for, and having a great time. It gives her the independence that she needs and deserves.

My son is excited for weeks beforehand, just counting down the days until he can go to Challengers. He feels loved and valued the minute he walks through the door, and knows he’s going to have the best day.

How started

Back in the 1970s, there was very little on offer for disabled children. They were isolated, excluded, and had nowhere to go and have fun. But thanks to our founders Colin Hassell and Dr Helen Foley MBE, that all changed when they created Challengers in 1979….

Watch the video to find out more!