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Challengers eye up fresh start in 2018 after devastating fire

2 minute read
Challengers eye up fresh start in 2018 after devastating fire

Published at 6:00am 4th January 2018.

Disability charity Challengers is eyeing up a fresh start this year after a series of setbacks in 2017.

The organisation was blighted with funding cuts and even a fire which destroyed its Guildford-based play centre last September.

Work is well underway to re-open the centre for the February half-term.

Chief Executive Laura Sercombe has told Eagle although they have had their struggles, they are looking forward to a new start: "We've had a lot of setbacks, a lot of hard work, it's been a lot of emotions running high.

"I think we are ready for a new year, we are excited about the new year, and excited about getting back in to the play centre again."

After months of work the charity's Guildford play centre is now starting to take shape.

These photos show how the building has changed since the fire:



September's blaze 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 were kind enough to help them during their time of need.



Laura also said she was grateful for the massive support they have received: "Public support and community support is what has kept us going.

"We've had incredible feedback, lovely notes and messages, people being incredibly kind.

"And I think if we ever doubted our place in the community then this has proved that we have a very, very firm place in our local community."




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