The Challenge campaigns to create the conditions for a more integrated society, and is running its first pilot campaign in summer 2016.

London: nowhere off limits 

Can you imagine a London where people are separated by income – with areas “off-limits” to people on lower incomes?

How about a London with neighbourhoods separated by age, with areas where everybody is over 65?

How about a capital city that is ethnically segregated? With neighbourhoods you don’t feel you can live in, because of your ethnic background?

Our capital, London, is one of the world’s most diverse cities. As a city it is incredibly mixed by age, income, and ethnic background. But this diversity doesn’t always mean that Londoners are mixed at a local level. A recent poll by The Challenge found that:

  • White Londoners were more likely to trust white neighbours.
  • Poorer Londoners were less likely to trust their neighbours than rich Londoners.
  • Poorer Londoners were more likely to feel like outsiders in their own neighbourhoods.

To have strong communities, Londoners from all walks of life need the chance to build friendships. London should be a city without limits – a place where everybody is welcome, no matter your background. Our experience running programmes like NCS shows us that your background doesn’t have to determine who your friends are. All we need are chances to meet and opportunities to get to know each other.

 What’s the solution?

The new Mayor of London must give London the homes and chances to build safer, stronger and more mixed communities.

We’re calling on the new Mayor to:

  • Build neighbourhoods that bring together people from different backgrounds. No part of London should be off-limits to you because of your background.  
  • Support Londoners to build connections with their neighbours. Too often, Londoners don’t have chances to connect with neighbours from different backgrounds. This threatens good community relations.
  • Appoint a social integration champion at City Hall, to oversee and promote social integration across the capital.


  • 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