CEO Blog – Challengers feature on BBC News

Challengers were featured on BBC South Today and BBC London News over the Easter weekend, and were on BBC Radio Surrey to share our story about the impact of reduced funding  across the sector and how families are missing out on much-needed respite.  

The features were aired on the following dates: 

  • Friday 7th April – BBC South Today Breakfast, Lunchtime, Evening & Late News 
  • Monday 10th April – BBC London Lunchtime & Evening News 
  • Wednesday 12th April – BBC Radio Surrey Breakfast

After recent announcements that income for short breaks from local authorities remains unchanged from five years ago, and considering increased costs, Challengers has faced extremely difficult decisions and changes in the number of sessions we can offer to local disabled families. I was delighted to be able to speak to Briony Leyland of BBC South Today, speaking of the sheer importance that services like ours have on families of disabled children and young people.  

“It’s heartbreaking for us. Families talk about Challengers being their lifeline, and effectively, what this has meant is that lifeline’s been cut in half.”  

Gen Dearman, CEO

Briony and I were also joined on a sunny morning in Farnham by some of the parents and children who depend on our sessions. Pippa Chapman, mum to Libby and Jesse, who both attend Farnham Youth made the day possible by recommending our story to the BBC;  we were also joined by mums Alison Stenlake and Natasha Morris and their children – a huge thank you to all for being involved and helping to champion the cause.

The coverage has sparked conversation from many, with families, staff and various other supporters joining in. Sarah Jane, a previous Challengers Deputy who worked within the charity for ten years said: 

 “This breaks my heart. It breaks my heart for the families, for the children and for the staff because trust me, we all loved/love being part of team orange (I have a decade of the fondest memories) because it is a giant team, the young people, the parents and the staff. When are the council going to realise how incredible this place is and give the funding that is required!” 

We would love to carry on this conversation. There are a number of invested parties that would be available for comment on this story, including Challengers CEO, Patrons, families and staff. For information on the story or any further enquiries, please contact us on phone 01483 230065 or e-mail