Headstart Action FAQs

HeadStart Action Fund – Frequently Asked Questions

You can download the full PDF here.

Project Eligibility

1. Would you consider a project which supported young people with special educational needs and disabilities up to the age of 24?

We will accept proposals from organisations delivering projects that support young people with special educational needs and disabilities up to the age of 21 (the age ceiling stipulated by the Mayor of London’s Young Londoners Fund).

2. Is it possible to focus our proposal on working with 16 and 17-year-olds?

Yes. Proposals can focus on young people of any age within the bracket stipulated in the RFP: 14-18-year-olds. See Q1 for an exception for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

3. Please, can you clarify exactly what you mean by “within” the priority boroughs – are you referring to the borough in which the participants live or the borough in which the delivery premises are located?

We are seeking proposals for activities that focus solely on young people who live or go to school in one of the priority boroughs and for activities to take place within the boundaries of one of the priority boroughs.

4. Is working with schools a prerequisite of the programme? The top outcome in section 2 is “young people will be more motivated at school”. Outside of a school setting outcomes would be focused on engagement in employment and training, rather than school. Would this be ok?

No, working with schools is not a prerequisite. As set out in the RFP, we welcome innovative proposals which set out new ways of working with young people in non-school settings. We recognise this will, therefore, result in a training and employment-focused outcome.

5. Can we bid for 1 project for £40k to work across 2 boroughs?

No. Proposals will need to support a minimum of 85 young people from one of the priority boroughs set out in the RFP.

6. Do we need to have a corporate partner lined up already? Will proposals which have a corporate partner secured score more highly? Or is the expectation that The Challenge will match us with a corporate partner of your choice?

Proposals that can demonstrate their ability to meet the key criteria set out in the RFP will be awarded a higher score. As set out in the RFP, proposals must show evidence of:

A. Previous experience of working in partnership with a corporate partner to provide engaging and impactful experiences for young people.

B. How you will engage corporate partner(s) (including any conversations to date as part of your proposal development) who will:

  • Co-design and deliver a workshop to introduce participants to their company
    and industry.
  • Provide interviews to all participants completing at least 16 hours of
  • Provide at least 20 paid work experience placements.

We do not, however, wish to preclude organisations from applying who do not have a confirmed corporate partner. Should the highest scoring proposals overall not have a corporate partner confirmed, The Challenge and Team London will be able to provide some support to confirmed delivery partners with corporate partnership development where needed.

Application process

1. Is the 20 page (max) bid proposal in addition to the due diligence questions? (or are the answers to the due diligence questions included in the 20 pages?)

Yes, the 20-page bid proposal is in addition to the due diligence questions.

2. Can you share a word version of the templates included in the appendices?

Yes. Please find the documents shared below:

If you have difficulty opening the documents, email hsaction.support@the-challenge.org to request a word version.

Multiple applications

1. It says in the guidance that £40K is available per project but you can work across boroughs. If you worked in 2 different boroughs and delivered the same project to different beneficiaries could you apply for 2 lots of £40K in the same application, i.e for a total of £80K? Or if you worked in 3 boroughs can you apply for £120K etc?

As set out in the RFP:

  • Organisations are welcome to apply for a maximum of two projects in two different boroughs as listed as priority boroughs in the RFP.
  • The maximum grant available per project, per borough, is £40,000
  • Each project will be required to meet the aims, outcomes and KPIs set out in Section 2 of the RFP.

2. If we are bidding for 2 projects – do you need 2 separate proposals?

Yes. Applicants should submit one proposal per project. We recognise applicants may wish to duplicate sections of the bid that are not specific to the local borough.

Organisation eligibility

1. Are we eligible to apply to this fund if we are already working with The Challenge and/or NCS?

Yes. We welcome applications from organisations who have worked with The Challenge and/or NCS, as well as from organisations who have not.

2. Can we apply if we have already applied to the Young Londoners Fund?


3. Can we hold a grant from both Headstart Action and the main Young Londoner’s Fund?


4. Is there a maximum income threshold for organisations applying to the fund?


You can download the full PDF here.