Our supporters

We would like to thank our generous supporters who have all contributed to our goal of bringing communities, groups and individuals together, regardless of their backgrounds.


Awards for All

Awards for All fund projects which address the issues, needs and aspirations of local communities and people. They fund a wide range of community projects aimed at developing skills, improving health, revitalising the local environment and enabling people to become more active citizens. Awards for All supported The Challenge to deliver ‘Ignite’ events across the North West, bringing hundreds of young people together across the region to gain new skills and explore their next steps into the world of work or further education.


The Barrow Cadbury Trust

The Barrow Cadbury Trust is an independent charitable foundation, committed to bringing about socially just change. They provide grants to grassroots community groups and campaigns working in deprived communities in the UK, with a focus on Birmingham and the Black Country. As joint sponsor of the Social Integration Commission, the Trust helps to raise the profile of social integration issues across the UK.


Big Lottery Fund – Reaching Communities programme

The Big Lottery Fund gives out millions from the National Lottery to causes which improve health, education and the environment. The Big Lottery Fund awarded a grant to The Challenge to help develop our NCS programme.



Bloomberg is a global software, media and data company. Bloomberg has been a key supporter for the HeadStart programme, providing funding and support as the programme grows.


British Gas

British Gas is the nation’s largest energy provider but as a business they do more than just supply Britain’s homes and businesses with gas and electricity. As joint sponsor of the Social Integration Commission, British Gas is helping us to raise the profile of the issue of social integration across the UK.


Dulverton Trust

The Dulverton Trust is an independent grant-making charity and company limited by guarantee. It was established by Deed in 1949 by the 1st Lord Dulverton to provide funds for such charitable institutions or purposes as the Trustees might from time to time determine. The Trustees continue to provide support for a wide range of charities operating mainly in England, Scotland or Wales. Since its foundation, the Dulverton Trust has made grants totalling over £85 million, which have provided much-needed support to thousands of charities.

The Trust enabled the delivery of The Challenge Society in the West Midlands.

The Greater London Authority

The Greater London Authority is the governing body covering all London boroughs. The GLA – through Team London – has been a critical supporter of the HeadStart programme in London providing leadership, funding and support to enable the programme to grow and connect increasing numbers of young people from volunteering and into work.


Heathrow Community Fund

Heathrow Community Fund is part of an independently run grant-making charity LHR Airport Communities Trust which makes donations to community projects local to the airport. Heathrow Community Trust have been key supporters of both The Challenge Society and HeadStart programme – helping to fund and enable both programmes to work with increasing numbers of young people within communities close to Heathrow.

John Hart

John Hart was one of the first supporters of The Challenge, and became an Honorary Graduate of The Challenge in 2010. He continues to be a dedicated patron of the programme.


Lloyds Banking Group

Lloyds Banking Group are a financial services group with millions of UK customers with a presence in nearly every community. They are focused on retail and commercial financial services and pride themselves on how they serve their customers, the relationships within the communities they serve and in helping Britain prosper. Lloyds Banking Group have been a key collaborator on the HeadStart programme, guaranteeing interviews to young people who complete 16 hours of volunteering in their community.

NCS Trust

The NCS Trust is a not-for profit social enterprise established to shape, support, champion and lead a thriving National Citizen Service.


New Look

The New Look story began in 1969 as a single fashion store in the UK. From there, they have grown to become a leading fast-fashion brand, with over 600 stores throughout the UK/ROI and over 200 across Europe, China, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. They are also one of the key collaborators on the HeadStart programme, guaranteeing interviews to young people who complete 16 hours of volunteering in their community.


The Peter Cruddas Foundation

The Peter Cruddas Foundation focuses on programmes designed to help disadvantaged young people develop their potential. The Peter Cruddas Foundation has been a cornerstone funder of The Challenge, and in 2009 Peter Cruddas became the first Honorary Graduate of The Challenge.


The Social Business Trust

The Social Business Trust are a partnership of world class businesses who share a common goal: to use their combined resources and experience to help accelerate the growth of social enterprises, generating increased social impact and sustained, positive change. The seven partners of The SBT are Bain & Company, British Gas, Clifford Chance, Credit Suisse, Ernst & Young, Permira and Thomson Reuters. The SBT provides The Challenge with in-kind advisory support as well as financial investment.



Since 1971, Starbucks has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality arabica coffee in the world. Starbucks have been a key collaborator on the HeadStart programme,guaranteeing interviews to young people who complete 16 hours of volunteering in their community.


The University of Central Lancashire

The University of Central Lancashire is one of the leading universities in the North West of England, and has supported The Challenge since 2011. UCLan has been a prime venue for the NCS programme each year, and has helped provide opportunities to young people on the programme by providing literature around university options.



Zendesk is a software development company that provides cloud-based software that makes it easy to provide better customer service. Zendesk has been a key supporter for the HeadStart programme, providing funding and support as the programme grows.


  • 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 550 permanent staff nationally and over 3,500 seasonal staff

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

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

  • 66% of HeadStart graduates said 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

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

  • 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 NCS participants attended state schools, with 13% on free school meals

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

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