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Challengers Chat: January 2017

Challengers Chat - January 2017

Welcome to the second instalment of the Challengers Chat. This month, our CEO Laura Sercombe talks about what the organisation managed to achieve in 2016.

Challengers has had another incredible year thanks to everyone who makes the charity so unique! We have delivered over 142,000 hours of fun, and reached over 1,400 children and young people across Surrey, Hampshire and Reading. This has been against a backdrop of continued negative attention to the sector that we have worked hard to understand and respond to. We are clear that our methods of operation are honourable and respectful but we have increased the focus on governance in light of what we have all seen take place elsewhere.

Our 2016 strategy was to extend existing schemes to ensure they ran throughout the year rather than just holidays because families told us they needed it and it was important that they had a year round service. We were also keen to respond to demands from professionals and parents for more pre-school provision and additional young adults services. In response to this we opened a new inclusive preschool in Guildford and Young Adult Schemes in Farnham and Basingstoke. We also managed to achieve a long held ambition to start a new relationship with West Sussex and will be opening a Youthscheme in Chichester this January.

We had 6 Ofsted Inspections that resulted in ‘Good’ judgements and one that was an ‘Outstanding’ judgement.

Other highlights included being nominated as a finalist in the National Diversity Awards, and receiving The Mayor’s Award in Guildford. We were also thrilled when one of our young volunteer fundraisers, Fabienne, was awarded the national Diana Award.

We also had a busy digital year making a new film with help from the COINS Foundation and are delighted to say that it is a finalist for the much coveted Charity Film Awards in 2017. We hope that you enjoyed watching it, as well as browsing our new website, which was developed by Something Big.

The charity is now being invited far more to support local and national conversations around disability, inclusion and play. We have been happy to support the Disabled Children’s Partnership throughout 2016 as this is an important campaign that works to highlight the fact that opportunities need to exist for disabled children in the UK. We have been included in a range of events including Disability Matters and New Philanthropy Capital. More locally we have worked with NHS CCG’s and SEND development boards. Our Trustees and Parent Ambassadors have contributed to this work and represented the charity by providing real life stories and feedback.

At Challengers we all consider ourselves fundraisers and in 2016 members of the team took part in Prudential RideLondon, Kelly’s Cycle Challenge, Kelly’s Cross Country Challenge, Surrey 3 Peaks, challenge events, and so much more – we are all already looking at what we can do this year!. This is an important part of our DNA; that we believe we are here to do a great job but also further the charitable cause. We ask for help from our supporters all through the year and we can do that knowing we have also done all we can to support the charity.

The #OnlyWithYourHelp campaign is now in full flow and is important as we devote the month of January to saying thank you to the many supporters that make Challengers a reality. We never take that support for granted and are grateful that individuals chose to support the charity in 2016. We hope that they will continue to be a part of our big orange family in 2017 because we are excited about the coming year. We know that with help, we will have another wonderful year.