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Fire-hit Guildford charity Challengers aims to reopen in February

3 minute read
Fire-hit Guildford charity Challengers aims to reopen in February

Published at 6:00am 6th October 2017. (Updated at 5:02pm 6th October 2017)

A Guildford disability charity devastated by a fire hopes to re-open in February 2018.

Challengers' play centre was destroyed in the blaze in September.

It started from a tumble dryer, which was not in use, and took 32 firefighters to put out.

Children were inside the building at the time, however thankfully no one was hurt due to a swift evacuation.

Despite the fire, Challengers worked hard to find a temporary venue for the Play and Pre-School schemes to run from. Neighbouring organisation, Urban Saints have been kind enough to help them during their time of need.


Challengers' play centre a day after the fire

During this time emergency building works were completed and this week work began to repair the full electrics.

The charity hopes full work on the repair will start in November, with the goal of reopening in the February 2018 half-term.


The rebuilding process is now well underway

Chief Executive Laura Sercombe told Eagle: "It's realistic and possible, but of course there are so many problems that might crop up along the way.

"That's (re-opening in 2018) what we're focusing on though and it's what we're determined to achieve."

Since September's fire, the local community has rallied in numbers to support Challengers.

The charity has received over £50,000 in donations, but Laura says that's not the only thing that's helped them: "We did get donations and people have been incredibly generous.

Laura Sercombe

Challengers' Cheif Executive, Laura Sercombe

"We also got fantastic messages just reminding us how important this service is, that was just lovely and it kept us going.

"It has been highly emotional and it was really difficult to explain to the children, the team that work with the children did an amazing job to prepare them for the change.

"We've become less emotional now and more practical, we're just determined to get this done."

If you want to donate to the rebuilding of the charity's play centre, you can do so through the Challengers website.


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