News from The Challenge

We’re a rapidly-growing organisation and the UK’s leading charity for building a more integrated society. You can view the latest news regarding our programmes, mission and impact in communities across the UK below.


Minister for Civil Society visits NCS

Today we welcomed the Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP, to the National Citizen Service being delivered by The Challenge in Reading.

As Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson is the sponsor minister for the NCS in government. The Minister showed his support by visiting a ‘Showcase event’, in which participants talk about their experience on the programme and what they felt they gained from it.

This summer, NCS with The Challenge has hosted over 30 MPs – including the Prime Minister – and welcome the opportunity to promote the programme and its benefits to young people and their local communities first-hand.

The National Citizen Service is a government-backed programme which brings together young people from diverse backgrounds, providing them with strong skills for life, work, and adulthood. The Challenge is the bigger provider of the programme.


  • 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