HeadStart

HeadStart gets young people volunteering in their local community so that they mix and meet with people from all walks of life. It inspires young people to volunteer by guaranteeing everyone who does so an interview for a part-time job.

HeadStart is a win, win and win. It is a win for young people who gain critical skills for work and life through volunteering. It is a win for partnering employers who can recruit fantastic new staff – HeadStart candidates are up to four times more successful at job interviews than standard candidates and have a higher retention rate within their jobs. It is also a win for the local community which becomes more integrated as young people volunteer locally and get involved with the great work of local charities.

HeadStart was launched in 2013 to work with 30 young people. After just two years almost 3,000 young people take part in the programme each year providing over 40,000 volunteering hours to local communities. In London, it is delivered in partnership with two fantastic partners: the Mayor of London and AGL Education and the support of some amazing employers including Bloomberg, Lloyds Banking Group, New Look, Starbucks and Zendesk.


  • The Challenge is the largest provider of the National Citizen Service in the UK



  • 72% of our NCS participants agreed with the statement: ‘I am more able to trust people’



  • We employ over 400 permanent staff nationally and over 3,500 seasonal staff



  • 76% of our NCS participants felt more confident about getting a job in the future



  • In 2014, 93% of HeadStart graduates felt they had improved communication skills



  • In 2014, 66% of HeadStart graduates felt they would continue volunteering after HeadStart



  • Nearly a third of young people who have heard of Step Forward rated it as their first choice when leaving school



  • In 2014, 85% of HeadStart graduates felt they better trusted people from different walks of life



  • In 2014, The Challenge collaborated with 800 community and business partners



  • In 2014, 78% of HeadStart graduates felt more connected to their community



  • 88% of our NCS participants felt they were better at working in a team



  • 94% of young people attending NCS, delivered by The Challenge in 2014, attended state schools, with 13% on free school meals



  • Step Forward received over 400 applications in its first year for just 48 places



  • 7% of those attending NCS, delivered by The Challenge in 2014, had a disability



  • In 2014, 52% of participants in NCS, delivered by The Challenge, were from a black and minority ethnic background



  • Over 30,000 16 and 17 year olds will take part in NCS delivered by The Challenge in 2015