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.


HeadStart receives fresh support from New Look and Heathrow Community Fund

HeadStart has continued to grow, with support from retail giant New Look and the Heathrow Community Fund.

In November last year, The Challenge and mentoring programme Mosaic launched the Inspiring Youth Project in Brentford with a £250,000 grant from the Heathrow Community Fund. This initiative is aimed at encouraging young people to get involved in communities around Heathrow Airport and, in turn, help them to develop essential skills for the future. Our incentivised volunteering programme, HeadStart, is one of five programmes within the Inspiring Youth Project and will add an element of social integration into this project.

We are pleased to announce that in April, the Heathrow Community Fund committed to a further £125,000 to fund HeadStart in West London.

In the same month, our corporate partners, New Look, committed to a second year of funding for HeadStart with a £50,000 grant.

This is great news for The Challenge and is testament to the effectiveness of HeadStart at helping young people into work whilst inspiring them to get involved in their local communities.


  • 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