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An update from our Chief Executive – May 2020

Like many people, here at Challengers we spent much of last week contemplating what the Government’s most recent coronavirus update means for us. While it’s positive that we’ve made enough progress to allow some people to go back to work and to meet a friend in a park (albeit 2 metres away), it is frustrating that we are still unable to resume Challengers services.

Everyone at Challengers is aware of the immense stress and pressure that families of disabled children are currently under, and we desperately want to welcome children and young people back to Challengers, so we are working hard to adapt our service to be able to offer a limited number of places as soon as possible. We know it’s not the same, but we do hope that our virtual Saturday Sessions on YouTube and the resources we’re sharing on social media are useful to families at home.

We are now approaching the end of our #SaveOrangeSchemes emergency appeal and I’m pleased to share that we have raised over £50,000 so far. We’ve been blown away by the number of people supporting our appeal and the creative fundraisers that supporters have come up with. We’ve seen people walking, running, rowing, cycling, dancing, painting, doing obstacle courses, shaving their heads – you name it! Thank you to everyone who is supporting us during this difficult time. You are all part of #TeamOrange and what makes Challengers such an amazing charity.

On the topic of fundraising, you may have seen articles online recently regarding the use of fundraising platforms, so I wanted to share our thoughts on the matter. As a charity we use a number of platforms, including Just Giving and Virgin Money Giving, which enable supporters to donate and fundraise for us. As all charities do, we carefully review the costs of any platform charges or fees against the fundraising opportunities that they deliver.

Our motivation is to ensure that the disabled children and young people who attend Challengers schemes receive the safest and most fun experience possible, and while these platforms support this aim, we will continue to use them as a part of our fundraising strategy. So, if you want to donate or fundraise for Challengers, you can do so via a fundraising platform of your choice – it’s up to you. For us, the most important thing is to have your support.

Even with your incredible support, Challengers is still struggling financially. We set out to raise £150,000 through our emergency appeal, however with only 18 days left until the appeal ends, reaching our target now seems unlikely. Like many charities and businesses, it will be necessary for us to make cost savings in the coming months, as well as changes to our offering in order to secure a sustainable future for the charity. We are working closely with the local authorities who commission Challengers services and have started a consultation with our staff. We will update parents and supporters further as soon as we are able to give you more specific information.

We hope that the situation improves soon, but for now our priority remains keeping families and staff safe and working hard to sustain as many of Challengers lifeline services as we can.

Amanda Matthews
Acting CEO

Monday 18th May 2020