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Fire-hit Guildford charity Challengers reopens today

3 minute read
Fire-hit Guildford charity Challengers reopens today

Published at 6:00am 19th February 2018. (Updated at 2:18pm 19th February 2018)

Disability charity Challengers reopens its Guildford play centre today, five months on from a devastating fire.

32 firefighters were called in to tackle September's blaze which started from a tumble dryer.

Children were inside at the time, but due to a swift evacuation there were no injures.

Shortly after the fire, neighbouring charity Urban Saints offered up its premises to Challengers as a temporary venue for the play and pre-school schemes.

The local community has since rallied in numbers to help raise over £50,000 for them in donations.

Back in December Challengers' Chief Executive, Laura Sercombe told Eagle: "People have been incredibly generous.

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


Challengers the day after the fire

After months of building work, on Monday (19 February) children will be able to return to what the charity describes as 'a brand new soft play, art room and sensory room'.

Speaking about the new play centre's opening, Laura said: "We couldn’t have done this without the support of the local community who have shown us so much love at what was a difficult time.

"We cannot wait to see the playfloor busy again with children having fun – that’s what it is all about. Thank you to everyone who has supported us, we couldn’t have done it without you."


Challengers' Chief Executive, Laura Sercombe

Guildford Centre Manager, Kat Link, said: "I’m very excited to get back to our centre, we have really missed our sensory room and soft-play.

"It has been fantastic that we have been able to continue to run from Urban Saints but we are excited to go back to our home!"

Kat added: "I have been watching the progress and it is looking fab, we have got a couple of new additions one of which is in the form of a updated art room with new storage for more fun activities for everyone to enjoy.

"We cannot thank everyone enough for their hard work in getting us back in to the centre so quickly and for all the support from the community."

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