Fringe Box



Challengers Charity Bounces Back With Two Big Summer Events 

Published on: 5 Jul, 2021
Updated on: 5 Jul, 2021

Revellers at the 2020 jazz event – which raised £6,000 for Challengers

By David Reading

Challengers, the Guildford-based children’s charity, is bouncing back from the pandemic with two major fundraising events this summer. 

The annual Wood Street jazz festival will go ahead later this month (July) and in August Challengers will be hosting their seventh annual motoring event.

Headline act Dennis Rollins, who leads a trio of celebrated musicians

When lockdown began in March 2020, the organisation which provides recreational activities for disabled young people was forced to close its services completely and cancel upcoming fundraising events. There was a danger the charity would not survive.

Within the first few months, Challengers saw a shortfall of £150,000 from cancelled fundraising activities.

Since then many events have been called off and to make matters worse there has been a fall in grant aid from both Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council due to funding budgets being reduced.

Inspired by the success of the 2020 Wood Street jazz festival – which raised £6,000 – Challengers and their partners Guildford Jazz are hoping for an even bigger fund-raising hit with their 2021 event on the village green on Sunday July 18. Covid-aware precautions will be in place.

Renowned jazz singer Louise Clare Marshall – one of the stars at the forthcoming Wood Street Jazz Festival

Two acclaimed jazz acts that appeal to a wide section of music fans are top of the bill – the  Dennis Rollins Velocity Trio and Louise Clare Marshall. Support acts are the Guildford-based Somethin’ Else Big Band and the Stuart Henderson “Back to Blue Note” Quintet.

More information:

For the Challengers’ annual Motoring Event on Sunday, August 29th, the charity is welcoming all vintage, classic and specialist cars to join a bespoke route through the Surrey countryside. Details:

Explaining the charity’s financial difficulties, Louise Clarke, interim CEO, said: “The actual cost to the charity to run a play or youth scheme is £180 per child per day. We use Local Authority funding and our own fundraising income to subsidise schemes, so that parents only need to pay a small contribution towards the overall cost.

“While we have been successful in receiving a large proportion of the funding available from Local Authorities this year to help fund Challengers’ schemes, we have received less money from both Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council than in previous years due to the short breaks funding budgets being reduced.

“Sadly, our after school clubs are no longer financially viable, and some Challengers schemes in Surrey and Hampshire which previously ran weekly will now only run fortnightly or monthly. This means that there will be fewer sessions available for families to book overall.”


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