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Disabled children face isolation even after lockdown ends says Guildford charity

3 minute read
Disabled children face isolation even after lockdown ends says Guildford charity

Published at 2:55pm 17th April 2020. (Updated at 4:42pm 18th April 2020)

Thousands of disabled children in Surrey and Hampshire could remain isolated even after the lockdown is over. 

That is according to the charity Challengers which is facing a threat to its services due to the negative impact of the coronavirus outbreak on fundraising.

The Guildford-based charity offers play and leisure opportunities for children, allowing them the chance to make friends, and providing respite for parents.

Challengers were forced to close their services in mid-March, with many families saying they are already struggling without the services the charity provides.

One parent of a child who attends Challengers said it is vital they reopen:

“Challengers saved our lives! Our son isn't in school, so Challengers is his only form of social interaction and he absolutely loves going there."

Amanda Matthews, Acting CEO of Challengers, said 2019 was a very difficult year fundraising - and it has now been worsened: 

“Unfortunately the current pandemic has aggravated this.

"We need to raise £1.4 million a year in voluntary income to fund our services, however most of this year’s fundraising events have been cancelled, and money which we would have expected from Trusts and Grants will now be even harder to come by, with many re-directing their funds to help with the immediate crisis.

"We welcomed the announcement of the Government’s charity fund, but unfortunately the majority of the £750million is ring-fenced for front-line charities so Challengers is unlikely to receive any financial support through from this.

"All of this means that we are forced to consider stopping some of our services post lockdown.

"This would be absolutely devastating for the children and young people that we support, and would put many families, who view our service as a lifeline, in a position where they are unable to cope.

"For most of us social isolation will only last a few months, but for disabled children it could last a lifetime.” 

Challengers have launched an emergency appeal named ‘Save Orange Schemes’  which is the colour worn by staff. 

Their aim is to raise £150,000- with nearly £14,000 raised so far. 

You can support the charity here.