Home Who we are Trustees

We could not achieve what we do without the help and support of our fantastic Trustees.

The Challengers Trustee Board is responsible for the overall governance of the charity. The Board delegates key areas of work to 2 sub committees: Finance & Risk and Operations & Quality. In addition the Board runs quarterly focus groups for Fundraising and Communications as well as the Annual Strategic Away Day and the Annual Risk Register Review.

Our Trustees have a wide range of skills, backgrounds, and experience to support us on everything from accountancy to communications. It’s very important to us that our Trustees include parents whose children use our services to help us make sure that we stay focused on what really matters for the children, young people, and families we work with.

  • Graeme Stretton
    Graeme Stretton: Chairman

    I first became involved with Challengers in the Spring of 2019, whilst taking a few months break from my day job as a risk and change manager at Barclays. After deciding to volunteer as a Playworker in the Guildford centre, it didn’t take long to discover what an amazing and vital charity Challengers is and I was keen to offer my support in a broader capacity.

    I have been involved with children’s charities throughout my career, having run schemes for underprivileged children at the University of Birmingham, supported Cambodian orphan charities during 7 years of living and working in Asia, and most recently I held a trustee position at the Reading Red Balloon Learner Centre – a school for bullied children who self-exclude from mainstream education.

    As Chairman, my role is to ensure that Challengers is compliant with governance and to enable the Board, the Chief Executive and Senior Management Team in delivering the charity’s purpose, vision and strategy.

  • Alison Stenlake
    Alison Stenlake: Trustee

    I’m delighted and honoured to become a Challengers Trustee, as I know what a huge difference the charity makes to the lives of disabled children and their families.

    I’m looking forward to using my professional experience from my career in communications and journalism to focus on the communications side of the charity’s operations, which is vital to help it sustain and grow its services.
    Challengers is also a personal passion of mine as my daughter Eleanor has attended the play schemes since 2016, and I became a Parent Ambassador in 2017. It’s an invaluable part of our family life.
  • Rachel Bartholomeusz
    Rachel Bartholomeusz: Trustee

    I came into contact with Challengers over 15 years ago when my brother attended the Oxted Playscheme; a few years later I became a Play/Youth Worker.

    Inspired to pursue a career in the non-profit sector, I took part in ‘Charityworks’, the UK non-profit sector’s graduate scheme. I spent one year working at The Whiteley Homes Trust and have gone on to work within Legacy Marketing teams at Cancer Research UK, CLIC Sargent and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

    It is wonderful to be able to share the experience I have gained from working in the charity sector with Challengers through my role on the board and as part of the Fundraising and Communications Sub-committee.

  • Gail Bedding
    Gail Bedding: Trustee

    Parent of teenage twins, 2 step children and a very cute young man with complex needs. CEO of Hampshire Parent Carer Network and National Rep for National Network of Parent Carer Forum.

    Challengers is a lifeline for ALL the family: the smile on my son’s face when he arrives; the freedom for me to watch the twins play sports at the weekend; allowing me to work; and for us all to have some normality. I don’t know how we would cope without it!

  • Holly Chantler
    Holly Chantler: Trustee

    I became a trustee of Challengers in January 2019, having previously worked as a youth worker at the Guildford Young Adult Challengers scheme. Challengers is such a fun and inspirational charity and provides a huge support role for many incredible disabled children and their families.

    In my professional life, I am a partner and head of the private client department at Morrisons Solicitors, specialising in Court of Protection and vulnerable client work.

    Outside of work, I own and ride horses and enjoy being outside generally.

  • Megan Dooley
    Megan Dooley: Board Secretary

    I came to Challengers when looking for a way to extend my experience in making sport accessible to all, and was so glad to find an organisation that focuses on opportunities for children and young people.

    As a trustee, I’m focused on bringing my professional background running Operations and Service Management teams to help secure a strong future for Challengers and the community we serve.

    I have been Board Secretary since 2019, ensuring that we’re following a high standard of governance and accountability as a board, and making sure we’re fulfilling our promises to the team.

  • Sormeh Nikourazm
    Sormeh Nikourazm: Safeguarding Trustee

    I am very honored to be given the opportunity to work alongside such a caring charity.

    As a Trustee I hope that my 14 years of experience in Safeguarding will support the Quality and Assurance of Challengers to be of an exceptional standard. My passion for helping others has been the backbone in my career and has taken me to all kinds of diverse establishments relating to the protection of children, such as working as a Private Investigator and as an accredited specialist FGM trainer.

  • Kim Sanders
    Kim Sanders: Governance Trustee

    I first became aware of Challengers when my children’s babysitter became a volunteer and I remember being struck as to how happy and dedicated those working at the charity were. Since my involvement with Challengers, this perception has been reinforced and continues to grow stronger.

    In my professional life, I am a Company Secretary and have a consultancy business. We advise and support companies and third sector organisations on all aspects of governance and risk, which in turn allows their business to grow and deliver their products and services. As a trustee, I will apply the skills I have gained in my career to Challengers. I hope my services will help Challengers to grow and prosper further, allowing many more children to experience the simple joy of play which is priceless for all children.

  • Deborah Smith
    Deborah Smith: Trustee

    We came across Challengers whilst visiting Legoland with our autistic son Thomas in 2002 and Thomas has been with Challengers ever since. I work in education. My role is to support and understand pupils who for whatever reason are unable to stay within the classroom setting. I feedback everything I learn to either senior leadership, safeguarding, Senco, counsellors. I have my own classroom, where our pupils and others know they are able to be themselves, without the risk of exclusion, My passion is “every child matters regardless of their ability.” I believe that this has come from understanding my own son. Challengers have in my eyes extended this ethos, so when we met in Legoland I knew instantly that this was going to be the team for my family and of course my son.

  • Bernie McAlister
    Bernie McAlister: Treasurer

    Having had no previous knowledge of Challengers, I am hugely impressed with the professionalism of the organisation and the passion for what is clearly a vital support for disabled children and their families.

    I qualified as a New Zealand Chartered Accountant in the 1980s and, having worked for a major London CA firm since 1986, I certainly can offer the qualification and the experience.

    I bring a lot of experience of both finance and managing businesses, often in difficult circumstances, so I am excited to put this to good use.
    This is my second appointment as a Trustee of a charity – the other being Faith in Action (which runs a drop-in centre supporting homeless people in Merton). My motivation is simply that I am keen to support the great work that organisations like Challengers do, and although my time is necessarily somewhat limited due to my current work, I’m excited to get involved where I can.

  • Natasha Morris
    Natasha Morris: Trustee

    It’s been over 4 years since my children started at Pre-school, and they have now both moved up to Play, and throughout that time I have had the most amazing experience with Challengers.

    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 a passion of mine to help Team Orange in any way I can!