Please find our answers to common questions:


When is The Challenge?

The Challenge runs throughout the summer, and with a new date starting every five days there are plenty of chances for your child to get involved.  To sign up for specific dates in your area, click here 

The Challenge – 2013 start dates

1. 23rd June
2. 27th June
3. 3rd July
4. 8th July
5. 14th July
6. 18th July
7. 24th July
8. 29th July
9. 4th August
10. 8th August
11. 13th August
12. 17th August

Who can do The Challenge?

The Challenge programme is for young people in London (all boroughs), Surrey, the West Midlands (Birmingham, Solihull, the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire) and the North West (Greater Manchester and Lancashire) who are in Years 11 and 12.

If your child does not live or go to school in these areas, but would like to take part in a similar programme, then please click here to find out what options are available to you.

If your child is between 18 and 22 years old, and is interested in taking part in a similar programme abroad, then please click here.

If your child has previously taken part in The Challenge or another NCS programme they cannot take part again as a participant. However, they will be able to come on The Challenge as an Associate Mentor. Details on how to apply coming soon!

How do I sign up?

If you are interested in The Challenge and would like to be sent more information via post, then click here

If you would like to sign up online and receive your online discount, then click here 

Is there a deadline for applications?

There is no deadline, but applications are on a first come, first served basis and places for popular dates go quickly

Are all costs included?

Yes – all costs are included and there are no hidden costs such as kit or lots of spending money. Your child is welcome to bring a small amount of cash to buy chocolates etc., but this is not necessary.

Why doesn’t it cost more than £50?

It costs us over £1,500 per place, but we are the leading provider of the government-funded National Citizen Service, which pays the rest of the £1,500.

How can I pay?

We accept payment by: cash, cheque, postal order or credit/debit card (online/telephone/paper form). You can fill out the consent form and pay electronically through the online application system. Apply online to secure an extra discount!

What should I do if my child can’t attend?

If you have booked a place on the programme but your child can’t attend please let us know as soon as possible, so that we can make the space available to someone else. In the event of a cancellation, you will lose your fee if your child has already been allocated a place after 14 days.

Do you have an inclusion policy?

Yes. We try to remove all barriers that might stop someone from participating fully in an opportunity by making our programme accessible. The only reason for not accepting someone onto our programme is if we are worried about their or others physical or psychological safety.

If you would like to discuss our inclusion policy in-depth with a member of our team please get in touch with us.

How do you ensure participants’ safety?

The safety of the young people on The Challenge is our number one concern. Throughout the programme all activities are led by a team of highly qualified, experienced instructors and mentors, all of whom have had enhanced CRB checks. They will be responsible for ensuring that the necessary safety precautions are rigorously followed and look after Challengers’ emotional and physical well-being. Please see here for further information.

What ratio of staff to participants is there?

Staffing ratios exceed recommended levels at all times, including the government’s ‘Education Outside the Classroom’ guidelines. During the programme in the summer the ratio of staff to participants is 1 to 6. During the Real Challenge Action (4 weekend days in the autumn) there will be at least 1 familiar staff member working with each team at all times.

What should my child bring?

We provide all of the specialist equipment and clothing, so you do not have to supply any of this.

Do you insure personal belongings?

All costs are covered on the programme, but we are not able to insure personal belongings. For this reason, we do not recommend that participants bring very expensive pieces of equipment or unnecessary valuables.

What meals are provided?

During the Personal Challenge your child will be provided with three meals a day. During the Team Challenge teams will get food to make their own breakfast and a packed lunch, and then to make a hot dinner in the evening with their flatmates. During the Real Challenge, we provide lunch. For all meals, we can provide halal, kosher, vegetarian, vegan or allergy alternatives if you let us know in advance.

Where do participants stay at night?

During the Personal Challenge your child will stay at an outdoor activity centre in a dorm room shared with three or four other young people of the same gender. During the Team Challenge he/she will stay at a university halls of residence around your local area. For the Real Challenge, your child will be staying at home.  Photos of example accommodation are here 

How will my child travel during The Challenge?

Your child will travel to and from the Personal Challenge by a specially hired coach. During the Team Challenge and the Real Challenge participants will travel mostly by public transport or minibus, with some journeys taken on foot or in taxi. Participants will be accompanied by our staff during all journeys.

What will you do if my child is homesick?

Should your child become homesick, our main concern will be their long-term happiness. We would discuss the issue with both the participant and their parent/guardian and do all we can to help the participant complete the programme.

Can parents and guardians visit during The Challenge?

All parents and guardians are invited to attend ‘The Challenge Showcase’ at the end of the Team Challenge.

Is there a code of conduct for participants?

The Challenge is all about challenging and pushing yourself.  To make this happen safely we have a code of conduct which we expect all participants to follow:

Follow safety rules and the law

Only leave the site with a Mentor

No going in other people’s rooms or flats

Be in your room after 10.45pm

No alcohol, illegal drugs or penknives

Respect and include other people

Challenge yourself  (in other words, take part)

If participants seriously or persistently break this code of conduct, then we will have to ask them to leave The Challenge. In this eventuality, the young person will have to return home.

What option will my child do during the Team Challenge?

During the Team Challenge, your child will do activities in one of the following skill areas: Drama, Photography, Media, Sport or Enterprise. All participants are asked at application to indicate their first three preferences in order. We will strive to ensure that participants get one of their top two preferences and, where possible, their first choice.

Who is behind The Challenge?

The Challenge is delivered by The Challenge Network, which is a registered charity and the lead provider of the government-funded National Citizen Service (NCS). The Challenge Network believes in the positive power of young people to make a difference in their local area, and gives them the opportunities and tools to make a difference.


Programme Dates / Young People

There are 12 dates throughout the summer when you can take part in The Challenge.

1. 23rd June – 10th July
2. 27th June – 13th July
3. 3rd July – 18th July
4. 8th July – 25th July
5. 14th July – 31st July
6. 18th July – 3rd August
7. 24th july – 8th August
8. 29th July – 14th August
9. 4th August – 21st August
10. 8th August – 24th August
11. 13th August – 30th August
12. 18th August – 1st September

Where is the Information Booklet for parents of young people coming on The Challenge 2013?

The Information booklet for parents of young people coming on The Challenge 2013 can be found here:

This document contains information about The Challenge, including what your child will need to bring, the structure of the programme and some FAQs.

You will receive more information about times and locations to meet, and will be invited to attend an information evening, roughly three weeks before your child goes on The Challenge.

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