The Ambassadors

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Our amazing Parent Ambassadors are integral to our family of supporters and to helping our organisation grow.

Working closely with the Challengers Communications and Fundraising Teams, they represent us at all levels of our work.

Our Parent Ambassadors support Challengers in many ways, from speaking about their experiences with Challengers at events to organising local fundraising groups and initiatives. We hold monthly (term time) meetings at our Playcentres in Guildford and Farnham to hear about the work our Ambassadors are doing.  All our Ambassadors receive training sessions and inductions.

To find out more about becoming a Challengers Parent Ambassador or to request one to speak at an event you are running please contact the fundraising team or call us on 01483 230 060

All parents are welcome to join our monthly Parent Ambassador meetings. Meetings take place on the second Wednesday of the month 9am – 12pm.

The first hour of the meeting is a chance to enjoy a hot drink and slice of cake and speak to our Parent Ambassadors and other parents. You are then welcome to leave, or stay for the rest of the meeting.

2020 meeting dates:

  • 15th January
  • 12th February – TBC
  • 11th March
  • 8th April
  • 13th May – TBC
  • 10th June
  • 8th July
  • 9th September
  • 14th October – TBC
  • 10th November
  • 9th December
  • Ann Baty
    Ann Baty: Parent Ambassador

    Our daughter, Lizzie, has been going to Challengers since she was 8. She is profoundly disabled and has no words to communicate. What she does have, though, is a great sense of fun, which she shares with the play-workers during her days at Farnham Play. She is only too ready to use her wonderfully expressive eyes to let everyone know and I am only too ready to tell everyone how much Challengers supports her as well as supporting families like ours.

    This is why I support Challengers as a Parent Trustee and also as an Ambassador; to speak from the heart about what Challengers means to us.

  • Gail Bedding
    Gail Bedding: Parent Ambassador

    Not only am I an Ambassador for Challengers I am also a Parent Trustee, I am passionate about what the charity offers and I want other families to have what we have, there will never be enough that I can do to help. I am Co-Chair of the Hampshire Parent Carer Network(HPCN); previously worked for Cool2Care and Parent Voice so I feel I have some experience in knowing what a break from caring can do for parents/carers.

    As an Ambassador I can spread the ‘Challengers orange’ and help people to understand what Challengers means to disabled children and their families – it’s easy to talk from the heart.

  • Nathalie Bellamy
    Nathalie Bellamy: Parent Ambassador

    When our son Sam was born with Down Syndrome and complicated medical associations, our initial coping mechanism was with immediate family, mainly grandparents. When Sam started school, his TA was recruited and I was told that he had been Challengers trained, a real bonus! It was then I was made aware of Challengers and then our coping mechanism grew to include so many wonderful young people, play workers who play with and entertain Sam.

    We made use of the charity for a few years, until I was made aware of Ambassadors. This is a great opportunity to understand the charity, how it works and how we can help develop and maintain the wonderful work they do for our special children. Being an Ambassador means I feel a little bit closer to the charity that makes such a difference to the whole of my family.

  • Sophie Berry
    Sophie Berry: Parent Ambassador

    My son Thomas has complex needs, autism, epilepsy, severe learning difficulties and allergies and needs support with every aspect of his life. I am a ‘stay at home mum’ with 2 other children. Challengers has been a lifeline for us in terms of respite, but also as an amazing fun environment for Tom to go and have fun with his peers.

    I really wanted to get involved to give something back, and in doing so have found it a wonderful support and healing process. You cannot help but absorb the energy and enthusiasm of the other staff members and ambassadors.

  • Fiona Blackley
    Fiona Blackley: Parent Ambassador

    Parent of 17 year old twins and a physically and mentally disabled 12 year old. Ex-Foreign Office, now full time mother, School governor for 4 years. Having lived in London and then overseas, we are now settled in a new build designed for our daughter’s needs. We have tried many different therapies and, with some surprise, realised that Challengers offer our WHOLE family some of the best ‘therapy’ we could ask for.

    Would hate to lose it now that we have found it!

  • Sam Bossi
    Sam Bossi: Parent Ambassador

    Our son Henry has a range of needs including epilepsy and severe learning difficulties and has attended Challengers for the last 7 years. Henry and the family have benefited tremendously from Challengers. It provides us with a lifeline, with respite and the ability to do things with our other son. Most importantly, Henry is able to play safely and confidently as well as develop his independence and have a huge amount of fun.

    I am honoured to be a Parent Ambassador and to be able to give back to the wonderful orangeness that is Challengers.

  • Kerry Caligari
    Kerry Caligari: Parent Ambassador

    I have an 11 year old son with Asperger’s Syndrome, Vesico-ureteric Reflux Disease, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and severe anxiety issues. Our life is bound by routine as his severe anxiety means that he cannot cope with any form of change.

    Challengers is the key.

    My son has attended Challengers since he was 5 and for him it is a safe environment where he is celebrated for being the amazing individual that he is. My son is very loyal to Challengers and he did a cycle ride for them 2 years ago. He wants everyone to know how awesome they are, and apparently that’s where I come in.

  • Sarah Garrett
    Sarah Garrett: Parent Ambassador

    My daughter Hannah has learning difficulties and epilepsy. I also have two other children and two crazy dogs!

    Challengers has become a big part of my life and has offered valuable support to my family and especially to my daughter who has enjoyed a wide variety of experiences through the Farnham Playscheme initially, and now the Farnham Youthscheme.

    I see Challengers having a really important part to play in supporting families like mine which has inspired me to want to get involved.

  • Emma Lansdale
    Emma Lansdale: Parent Ambassador

    My son is 2 years old and has hypermobility, meaning he is super bendy and bum shuffles everywhere and also has speech and language delay. Despite all this he is a super happy little boy. Finding challengers pre-school was a life saver for my family and I. The staff understood my sons needs immediately and he has grown in confidence. Challengers has really provided a lifeline for my family and I. I am proud to be a parent ambassador and I don’t ever want to lose this much-needed service for our family.

  • Natasha Morris
    Natasha Morris: Parent Ambassador

    Challengers is very much part of our family! Being an Ambassador gives me the chance to support and give back to the people that has not only helped my son but also us as a family. My son Toby attended the Guildford Pre-School and is now attending the After School Clubs and the Playsscheme on the weekend and in the holidays!

    Challengers has provided us with a lifeline when things were very tough for us at the beginning of our journey with his diagnosis. Toby has autism and other complex needs in which he needs support most of the time. Challenges has provided us with respite care so we can spend time with our 1 year old daughter Lilly. It has enabled us to do things with Toby that we haven’t before due to the fact they have taught him so much and us. Toby is able to play in a safe and happy environment where is is accepted for who he is. Challengers support the whole family, not only Toby. They were there when we needed them the most and still do.

    Challengers has inspired me so much and I want to give back to the people that gave us our life back, to the people who always go the extra mile. I am passionate about Challengers and what they offer to families in the same position as me. When you’re at Challengers you feel very much part of the family. I want to help Challengers in what ever way I can and spread the word of how amazing they are. It is Toby’s happy place in life and I’m so happy that I can give back.

  • Charlie Murton
    Charlie Murton: Parent Ambassador

    My name is Charlie, and I have 5 children; my eldest India, Esme, Stanley and then twins Oscar and Jesse. The boys are 8 now and they love running around letting off steam. They have a 1:1 at the moment and they love their 1:1’s. They go to Guildford and Farnham Play and have gotten to love all the staff, which is amazing for us because with twins obviously it feels really hard at home not having anywhere to be able to take them when they were younger, so literally now we don’t even get a goodbye! They run into Challengers, and they are just off! It’s really lovely for us to not have to worry and the staff always say that they’ve had a great time, had loads of fun, its actually the only place that we feel we can leave them, and not be concerned and this is simply because the staff are just so fantastic. For the boys, it’s a home from home and just takes the pressure from us, just having to do everything from home.
    The fact is, that is it not just a rest for us, it’s just their happiest time of day when they are here, so its not just for me or just for them, it effects the whole family. My other three children worry about me looking after them a lot, they always say ‘Oh Mum, the boys have got Challengers today, what are you going to do? Do you want to go for coffee?’ So, it actually affects our whole family and it’s a lovely feeling when I look on the calendar and see Challengers on Sunday for both boys and I just know that they are going to love that. So it’s a lovely feeling for everybody, just a smile really, a really nice feeling knowing they’re coming here for all of us.

  • Chris Noble
    Chris Noble: Parent Ambassador

    I have been involved with Challengers since my son was four and he is now a young adult, Challengers has been an important part of our lives for a very long time! During that time Challengers has grown and grown, but what really makes Challengers special is the people – their energy and enthusiasm is infectious. Challengers is unique – a fun place and a special place, at the same time providing vital support to families, who can allow themselves to be “off duty” for a few precious hours. I am honoured to be an Ambassador and part of the Challengers family!

  • Alison Stenlake
    Alison Stenlake: Parent Ambassador

    My elder daughter has severe learning disabilities and autism, and needs one-to-one support for everything she does. Despite the difficulties she faces she is able to have fun – and no more so than when she is at Challengers, which she absolutely loves.
    Challengers is a real lifeline for the whole family. It gives us a chance to breathe, knowing our daughter is happy and safe, and lets us focus on her younger sister while getting a bit of a break from our caring responsibilities. I feel passionately about doing what I can to support this amazing charity which does so much for the children, young people and families who depend on it.

  • Faye Wade
    Faye Wade: Parent Ambassador

    I have an 18yr old son with autism, epilepsy & severe learning difficulties. He has in the past used Guildford Challengers, which he thoroughly enjoyed. He always came home smiling & I always felt confident leaving him there as the staff were trained, helpful and welcoming, and I knew he was safe there having fun. Now he’s older, I have a bit more time to myself, which is why I wanted to help & support Challengers as they did for me. I currently work in the health sector supporting others with special needs.