One can reminisce about the excitement of the summer holidays, when you had just finished school for the year, and are ready to go out and have six weeks of carefree fun. Was that not an amazing feeling?
This is where Challengers comes in, the charity provides play and leisure schemes for disabled children and young people, meaning that everyone gets the opportunity to have that feeling.
Currently supporting more than 1,400 families in Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire – the charity runs 23, age appropriate schemes providing activities, held on Saturdays and during the school holidays.
The activities include visits from mobile farms, music workshops, art days, water fights, cooking activities and much more. The schemes in Surrey do not only run these events, but there are organised trips to places like the Living Planet Centre, Marwell Zoo and Four Kingdoms.
Fundraise For Challengers
For more information about Challengers’ fundraising events and donating, visit: www.disability-challengers.org/fundraising-giving.
There are many benefits of these schemes, including learning essential life skills and making friends. The events also provide short breaks for parents and siblings from the constant cycle of care.
“My son has a social life now, he loves the sensory room and he loves going out and about and being around people. He sometimes comes back covered in paint, but it is okay because I know he’s been having a really great time” said Gail Bedding, a Challengers parent.
The play and leisure provided by Challengers are vital to children and young people’s development and happiness. ‘Play is an essential part of every child’s life. It is vital for the enjoyment of childhood as well as for social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. When children are asked about what they think is important in their lives; playing and friends are usually at the top of the list.’ – Play England.
The charity’s schemes in Surrey are separated into three different age brackets. Pre-school for ages 2 – 5 years-old, held in Farnham and at the Guildford Play Centre. Play for ages 4-12 years-old, Youth for ages 13-18 years old and Young Adult for ages 19-25 years old.
Challengers believe that no child should be excluded from play due to the severity of their impairment or geographical location. Therefore, the charity strives to create a supportive environment for any child, regardless of any specialist equipment needed to learn and play.
Their mission is to create an inclusive society by giving disabled and non-disabled children the opportunity to play together and to grow-up with a greater understanding and acceptance of differences.
The Challengers services cost more than £3 million each year. It relies on the generous support of individuals, community groups, businesses and charitable trusts to continue running their services.
By Georgia Lambert