2017 has been a standout year for Challengers, a Guildford-based charity that provides exciting and inclusive play and leisure activities for disabled children.
Its main play centre and charity headquarters was gutted by a devastating fire in September 2017. All 12 members from the fundraising and communications teams had to be diverted for an initial six weeks to handle the overwhelming offers of support that followed, which translated into many willing hands, and a lot of hard work to secure income. Despite the huge upheaval, the charity still managed to meet its annual fundraising target of £1.4million: an increase of 28% on 2016.
The team's fundraising initiatives proved successful: the charity’s Parent Ambassadors – a team of passionate volunteer parents – have been instrumental in the charity’s fundraising success. One corporate supporter directly credited their Parent Ambassador with inspiring its staff to raise £65,000 (far exceeding the original target £25,000). In the last year, the charity has also focused on growing its Business Club. Attendance and support levels from local companies are high, and income continues to grow.
Despite the odds, at no time has Challengers had to reduce delivery: the disabled children who rely on the service have not suffered. The charity is delighted to announce that its centre reopened in February 2018.