What's going on

Home An update from Challengers’ Chairman

An update from Challengers’ Chairman

Important update orange background

You will all be aware of the dramatic effect that COVID-19 is having on our country and on the world. As well having a huge impact on people’s lives, the impact on the economy is unprecedented and charities will be affected just as much as the commercial sector. In the case of Challengers, we have already had to close all of our schemes apart from those supporting key worker families, and we are anticipating a period of possibly several months where we will be unable to operate as normal. This is upsetting news for us and for all of the young people and families that we support, but sadly no different to what is happening in so many other parts of our society.

It is critically important that Challengers survives this period and that we are able to re-open at least some of our schemes when the pandemic is sufficiently under control. This will require very careful management of costs and income over this period; initiatives that the Trustees and I will be leading for the charity. We will need to make some very difficult decisions and the first of these was made last week, when Trustees decided to streamline the charity’s Senior Management Team with the departure of our former Chief Executive David.

We are sad to see David leave after a relatively short time with Challengers, but the Board was in agreement that we must make cost savings in the current environment. In light of David’s departure, Amanda Matthews (current Head of Finance and Operations Support) has taken over as the Acting Chief Executive of Challengers with immediate effect.

It will be necessary to make further cost savings in the coming months to put the charity in a stable financial position to re-open schemes when it is safe to do so, much like many other charities and businesses are doing. As the situation develops and stabilises over the coming weeks, the Trustees, Senior Management Team and myself will be working hard to agree on changes to our services that provide the most sustainable future for Challengers in the years ahead.

We are fully committed to the charity and will do everything in our power to protect its future. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported Challengers over the years – your generosity has enabled us to grow into a charity into something which we are all extremely proud of and which has made an amazing difference to thousands and children and families.

Take care during this difficult time and I will issue further updates in due course.

Graeme Stretton
Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Tuesday 31st March 2020