News and opinion


4.4 million people. That’s roughly the same population size as the Republic of Ireland or Croatia. Half of London. Or, put another way, four more Birminghams.

That is the increase in the UK’s population over the next decade, according to the Office for National Statistics. And it throws up major questions about ‘social integration’ – the extent to which people in Britain interact with others from different backgrounds to their own.

Ever since Thomas Malthus published his book An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, there has been much public debate about population growth and what this means for life in Britain.


The Challenge believes that the programmes we offer make a real difference to the lives of the young people who participate on them. Furthermore, we believe that bringing together people from different backgrounds has positive effects on society at large, and is crucial in the development of more united and trusting communities.

Despite this, we are often asked how programmes which touch the lives of only some teenagers can possibly change our society.


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 Challenge were delighted to host the Prime Minister today when he visited young people taking part in the National Citizen Service in Betws-y-Coed, North Wales.

Alongside TV personality Bear Grylls, David Cameron spent the day with participants on an NCS programme being delivered by The Challenge to see first-hand the benefits of the social mixing and skill development programme.