On Friday 6th November, Challengers Annual black tie event took place at the stunning location of Fetcham Park in Surrey.

Challengers, an independent children’s charity that’s been running for over 30 years, works to increase the opportunities for inclusive play and leisure for children and young people with disabilities. Currently based in Guildford, their schemes cover Surrey and Hampshire with the aim to expand further into surrounding areas as the charity continues to grow.

In 2014 we delivered more than 138,000 hours for 1,300 disabled children.


The evening began with drinks and canapés in the main hall, allowing guests to mingle before Chair of Trustees, David Clinton, welcomed everyone at the iconic stairway – encouraging all to let their hair down as much as previous years! Over 70 guests then proceeded to be seated at their tables in the Salon, where Challengers CEO, Laura Sercombe spoke passionately about the charity and the impact it can have on the lives of those who participate in the schemes.

Laura told a touching story demonstrating how the skills and knowledge staff obtain by working with the young people, equips them to react positively in a variety of situations where others may be unsure. Small actions such as moving out of the way for a wheelchair user at a busy tube station for them to get through doesn’t take much but can make a difficult task much easier for them.

I hope that if others will witness this, it will change their way of thinking and, in turn, encourage others to do the same.

Laura Sercombe, CEO Challengers

Stepping Stones staff made their mark for COINS Foundation, with Melissa Farnham (Head Teacher) & partner Steve Grigsby, Phil Thompson (Assistant Head) with wife Ruth Thompson and Rachel Knight (Therapy Lead) all in attendance. Other attendees included; Imago Portrait Studio Directors Will & Nix Cardwell, Sarah Hesse (Owner of Clean Bins), Kirk Langley (partner of Challengers head of finance) and finally COINS Foundation Programmes & Social Media Assistant Erin Orford.

Gail Bedding, a Challengers Parent Trustee then took over the microphone for the ever popular ‘Heads & Tails’ – a game that requires participants to put their hands on either their ‘head’ or their ‘tail’ with the success decided by the flip of a coin and is repeated until one person is crowned the winner. COINS Foundation continued their winning streak from last year when Sarah Hesse was crowned the winner and was rewarded with a health and fitness based prize of a personal training session.

After a delicious meal and some mild over-indulging on the chocolate cheesecake desert, the silent auction began, featuring a variety of prizes ranging from a family photo shoot to a private tour and wine tasting at Greyfriars Vineyard. The Auction stayed open for the rest of the night and in total the evening raised a phenomenal £12,000 to go towards future schemes and support for the Charity.

Challengers play and youth schemes are where disabled children and young people feel that they belong, are safe, have fun and make friends.


COINS Foundation would like to thank everyone involved in making the event such a success – we’re proud to be able to support such a great charity and help to promote the work that you do.