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Challengers welcomes interim CEO

There have been a number of changes at Challengers this year, not only to our services, but also to our senior leadership. You may have seen that we have been recruiting for a permanent CEO to lead the charity for some time, however the recruitment market is a little unstable at present and has made it difficult for us to find our ideal permanent CEO. In light of this, the Challengers Trustee Board has made the decision to appoint a highly skilled CEO on an interim basis who will lead the charity into the new year.

We are excited to introduce Louise Clarke as Challengers’ new interim CEO, who will be starting on Monday 14th December. Louise has many years’ experience in the voluntary sector and a strong commitment to disability rights, as well as a plethora of knowledge and accomplishments to bring to Challengers. She will be working with the Senior Leadership Team for two days a week on a minimum 6-month contract until a permanent CEO is recruited.

Speaking of her appointment, Louise said: “I am delighted to be joining Challengers, having followed and admired the charity for a number of years. I am passionate about delivering the best outcomes for disabled people and promoting inclusion within the local community. I look forward to working with the Challengers Board and Senior Leadership Team to explore funding models that are financially sustainable whilst building on the strength and culture of Team Orange.”

Our current interim CEO, Amanda Matthews, will be handing over the reins to Louise at the end of December and moving on to new adventures in Scotland. Amanda’s commitment to Challengers has been second-to-none, and she has done a truly fantastic job – firstly as Head of Finance, and then stepping in to lead the charity through a very turbulent year. Thanks to Amanda’s leadership, resilience and hard work, Challengers is now in a much stronger position to continue its important work supporting children and families.

Amanda said: “I feel so privileged to have been part of Challengers for the last 8 years, during which we have delivered over a million hours of play to so many deserving young people. It has been wonderful to work with so many committed and talented members of Team Orange. Although 2020 has been a very tough year for us all, certainly my hardest year with Challengers, I am very excited that Louise is joining and about the opportunities we have to enhance the lives of even more young people in the years to come. Challengers will always be in my heart and mind.”

We thank Amanda for her wonderful commitment to Challengers and we are excited to welcome Louise as an experienced and capable pair of hands to the helm of Challengers, supported by a strong leadership team. As a Board, we are hopeful for the future and the new opportunities that lie ahead.

Merry Christmas, and I hope you have a very happy and restful time over the holidays.

Graeme Stretton,
Chairman of the Board of Trustees