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 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

How long is The Challenge in total?

The Challenge is made up of 3 consecutive challenges, with breaks in between and four social action days in the autumn:

Personal Challenge: 5 days

Team Challenge: 5 days

Real Challenge Design: 4 days

Real Challenge Action: 4 days

Graduation: 1 day

The programme begins with 3 part-residential challenges spread over 14 days with breaks in between each part.

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

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

If you have previously taken part in The Challenge or another NCS programme you cannot take part again as a participant. However, you will be able to be 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 

Where will I stay at night?

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

What meals are provided?

During the Personal Challenge we will provide you with three meals a day. During the Team Challenge you will get food to make your own breakfast and a packed lunch, and then to make a hot dinner in the evening with your 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. 

Can I sign up with my friends?

Yes, sign up with friends and also use this opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. Don’t forget though that to take part they have to be in Year 11 and live or go to school in one of the areas The Challenge is in. Remember that places are allocated on a first come first served basis, so sign up quickly! 

What do I have to bring?

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

Can this count towards my Duke of Edinburgh Award?

Yes. Some parts of the NCS programme can count towards your Duke of Edinburgh award. If you are doing your DofE and would like your NCS with The Challenge activities to count towards it, please let us know when you start the programme.

Are all costs included?

Yes – all costs are included. You are welcome to bring a small amount of cash if you want to be able to buy chocolates etc., but you don’t need to.

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

Why doesn’t it cost more than £50?

The Challenge is about proving yourself, not how much you can afford to pay.  The Challenge Network is the leading provider of the government-funded NCS, (National Citizen Service)  which pays the rest of the £1,500 it costs for each place.

How will I travel during The Challenge?

You will travel to and from the Personal Challenge by a specially hired coach. During the Team Challenge and the Real Challenge you will travel mostly by public transport or minibus, with some journeys taken on foot or in taxi. You will be accompanied by our staff at all times. All travel costs incurred during The Challenge are included in the price of The Challenge. We are unable, however, to pay for travel to and from the meeting points.

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 recommend that you do not bring very expensive pieces of equipment or unnecessary valuables.

Is there a code of conduct for participants?

The Challenge is all about challenging and pushing yourself.  We expect commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm. 
To make this happen safely we have a code of conduct which we expect everyone 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 you seriously or persistently break this code of conduct, then we will have to ask you to leave The Challenge. In this eventuality, you would have to return home.

Who is behind The Challenge?

The Challenge is delivered by The Challenge Network, which is a registered charity and the leading provider of the government-funded NCS (National Citizen Service).


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
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