Challengers Summer Youth Scheme provides enjoyment for all

24th April 2018

We awarded a total of £3,247 to Challengers for their Summer Youth Scheme, an inclusive project supporting disabled young people aged 13-18, to access a range of fun and exciting activities that they are often excluded from by mainstream providers.

The summer holidays can be a particularly challenging time for disabled young people, many with nothing to look forward to or no friends to spend time with. Challengers is dedicated to supporting disabled young people to take part in the same fun activities as their non-disabled peers. Through this project, they were given the opportunity to have fun, make friends and develop social, emotional and physical skills essential in their transition into adulthood.

Challengers Guildford Youth Scheme delivered a range of fun and exciting activities such as dance and cooking workshops, afternoon tea and archery. They also visited exciting places such as The Living Planet Centre and Chessington World of Adventures.

The scheme ran from 1st August – 26th August and on most days provided an outbound trip and a centre-based activity. For many of the young people that attended, Challengers provided their only opportunity to see friends and try new activities during the long summer holidays. For their parents, carers and siblings, this project provided an essential short break from their caring responsibilities, essential to their own mental health and emotional wellbeing. Many parent carers say that they spend this time to catch up on the things that many take for granted such as cleaning, shopping or simply recuperating from their demanding caring responsibilities.

This is Toms* story, written by his mother;

We have 2 children, our youngest Tom has ASD and attends Challengers regularly. Our life revolves around making sure Tom is safe, cared for and has things to do. Initially we didn’t have a social life at all and pretty much lost all our friends.

Our family live at either end of the country so we had no support there either. Our eldest hated bringing friends home from school. ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) helped enormously – Toms behaviour changed and he became easier to take out. I went back to work so we could pay for his home programme. Our eldest wasn’t happy but he understood and preferred having a brother who didn’t lash out.

Over time we have started venturing out, we still struggle with babysitters. Our eldest will when he is home from Uni but it’s still the exception.

We first heard about Challengers from Toms school, Jigsaw in Cranleigh. The first time we dropped him off was much easier than expected as we visited first and one of the teachers from school worked there so I was pretty happy that someone knew him.

Tom loves activity so I usually book him in for the outdoor trips as much as I can. When he is there it means we have a day to do things! Tom needs someone with him 24/7 as he doesn’t recognise danger so on days when he is at Challengers my husband and I can do things together. All other times one of us has to be with Tom or we have to take him with us.

*Name has been changed

We are delighted to see the impact our grant has had on improving the quality of life for disabled young people such as Tom, through taking part in Challengers Summer Youth Scheme, as well as providing parents and carers some much needed respite from their caring roles.