Challengers provide exciting, challenging, and most importantly, inclusive play and leisure activities for children and young people with disabilities. 86% of disabled children don’t have access to regular play or leisure activities and Challengers aim to reduce this number, supporting over 1,400 individuals across Guildford and the surrounding areas. COINS Foundation is delighted to be a long-term partner, but there are many other opportunities to get involved with this fantastic organisation, including; paid roles, volunteering and fundraising activities – take a look at their page to find out more.

Lindsey’s story

My name is Lindsey Farr and we have been coming to Challengers for about 3 years. I have got 2 boys that use the play schemes, one of them used the Challengers Pre-School has just gone to school this year. [My daughter] Lily is also now at the Pre-School, and the boys use Challengers on a Saturday and absolutely love it – I cannot get them out!

I knew Challengers was here but I didn’t know they did Pre-School. It was only because Alfie has issues – he is ADHD and autistic. William is probably, well I know he is but it is just getting it diagnosed, but he is the same as Alf so I thought if he came to Challengers he would get the help that he needed, rather than struggle in a different nursery.

That first morning I just waited for my phone to ring. When it didn’t ring I just felt relieved. He didn’t speak very much when we first came – and now he just won’t shut up! He has really come on and he has made loads of friends.

The team go above and beyond for the children and the parents. They feel like they become part of the family.

Lindsey Farr

Lily doesn’t have any additional needs but has speech issues. Lily likes the role play area, playing with the babies and the water tray, and getting messy with paints!

There are children in there that have wheelchairs or frames and I think it is eye opening for all of the children. Lily will come out and say: “oh Harry was doing his walking with his frame today, he managed to kick his ball.” To most people, they would be ‘oh yeah whatever,’ but she can see that he struggles and notices that he has done really well, and she is like “mum, look.” Not only that, if you are in the town and she sees someone in a wheelchair or sees someone, they are not like ‘oh mum, what is that’ because they see it every day so it is normal to them.

The team go above and beyond for the children and the parents. They feel like they become part of the family. I love all the staff – they are all great. They are all just really friendly, they all know the individual children, they know what they like. They spend time getting to know the children and I know if I said to them “what is Lily’s favorite toy?” they would be able to tell me.

It would be hard work without Challengers. There are no other options – they only come here. They are on the go all day everyday – it is just a bit of a break, and they are so full on by the end of the week I am knackered. So, when it comes to Saturday I am like ‘yes here we go!’ We then just do every day normal stuff that you would think is easy to do but having the two boys it is really not.

I just think this is a place for the boys to go and do what they need to do, go and run off without having to have people staring or watching or judging them. Whereas I can take my eldest daughter to the park and she can have fun in the park but if Alf has a meltdown in the park then everyone is watching. It is her time while they are here. I just think it is amazing.