Case studies

“I joined HeadStart because I wanted to volunteer and help people in my community; the programme also gave me an interview experience which will help me in my future.

I volunteered at Enfield Stars; a charity that works with young adults with additional needs. The experience was strange at first but I got used to it. Through this opportunity I learned how to communicate and help adults who have additional needs. I was working with people who were different from me and I’ve learnt that I need to just be myself and I can get along with everyone. The best part of this experience was seeing the young adults smiling. Being able to help them have a great day made me feel good.”

Davina, HeadStart participant, North London

“The Challenge and Blackfriars Settlement have worked together since 2010.

The partnership has united people across generations. Representatives from Blackfriars Settlement have also attended the graduation of over 600 young people who completed The Challenge in the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. For voluntary sector charities like ours, the work of The Challenge is so important. Their fundraising support is essential as we have to raise funds all the time to sustain the quality service we provide for older people in our community. Thank you for all the work you do for older people in our localities.”

Tina Johnston, community partner, Blackfriars Settlement, central London


“Working with HeadStart has been a pleasure and the engagement from the team has been reflected by my teams response and eagerness to work and be involved with HeadStart.

The quality of the HeadStart graduate pool has been a great source for finding future stars and talent for our stores and our business. I look forward to continuing working with HeadStart in the future and celebrating the success of people that join our teams.”

Dean Humphrey, corporate partner, Starbucks District Manager, London Central/ North

“The balance of learning and mutual respect is really refreshing and it helps me develop a professional stance.

I am the only member of my company in my role. I support all projects that are run annually and work on public relations, evaluations and databases. My role varies from administration to phone calls, allowing me to network with partners and young people. My fresh view as a young person brings a lot of energy to the team.”

Diamond, Step Forward participant, South London

“NCS wasn’t just a three week experience in the summer; it has been so much more.

I have developed skills that I otherwise wouldn’t have, and in turn have grown as a person. Words cannot express how grateful I am for the fantastic opportunities that NCS has continued to provide me with.

Before I participated in NCS, I was very much the sort of person that wanted to sit around all day and not really accomplish much. I now attempt to approach everything that I do with a positive can-do attitude and realise that just because I am one individual, that does not mean that I cannot make a difference.

Since completing the programme I have made continuous efforts to support local charities and to partake in local activities that benefit my community. I have volunteered with The British Heart Foundation, The Samaritans, Junior Y Club, and I have also become an active member in the Trafford Youth Cabinet.

I didn’t want graduation to be the end of my experience with NCS; thankfully it wasn’t.”

Neil, NCS participant, Cheshire

“Before starting NCS, I was worried that people would have a negative view of me as I had always been in and out of trouble and felt that people would judge me. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

NCS helped me to form real relationships with people I would never have chosen to even speak to in the past. I learnt to relate to people that were different to me and show understanding and empathy towards people with different life experiences. This was key to working together as a team. Since taking part in the programme, I have continued to volunteer with our community partner, Greenhive Residential Care Home. Having visited them in the summer, I was touched by the work they were doing to help dementia patients. I also volunteer at Homepark Adventure playground, where I work with 5-16 year olds. Doing NCS encouraged me to develop skills I didn’t think I had and build genuine friendships with people I would naturally ignore.”

Samantha, NCS participant, South London

“Since taking part in NCS, my son Jordan has more confidence in himself.

The residential aspects of the programme encouraged him to be more independent. NCS has helped him to develop different ways of thinking about people and things. It has provided a memorable part of his growing up experience that he can look back on with a sense of achievement as well as draw upon in the future. I would recommend NCS because everyone will get something from it; parents, young people and others around them.”

Lorraine, parent, Birmingham

“Heathrow Community Fund is part of a grant making charity funded by the owners of Heathrow Airport and our key focus is to support community programmes local to the airport.

One of our aims is to help create learning opportunities for young people which will help them raise their aspirations in life. The Challenge, and its programme in West London, provide a perfect match with that aim. Our funds can help support many young people and also create opportunities for airport staff to share their skills. Young people from The Challenge have come to learn about the world of work at the airport, helped Heathrow Community Fund to run a community event and volunteered alongside Heathrow staff in the local community. Many will go on to continue volunteering in their local community which, from our perspective, will demonstrate that our grant has been well spent.”

Caroline Nicholls, funder and professional partner, Heathrow Communities Trust