It all started on an average school day. The NCS team came to my school to do a presentation about the programme. I later phoned my parents pleading to go, and luckily they agreed! There was lots of anticipation as I counted down to the start of NCS.

Last month, Mayor of London Boris Johnson addressed an audience of over 200 people drawn from the business and third sectors, to officially announce the launch of our new programme, HeadStart London.

HeadStart London inspires young people to strengthen their communities through volunteering, whilst giving them the skills and experiences to succeed at work.

My name is Shernice Rai and I am a 17 year old NCS graduate. I completed NCS last year in South Birmingham and this year, I chose to complete a work experience placement with The Challenge.

During the course of the week, I was given the chance to see the magic that is created in The Challenge office ahead of the start of NCS.

Last November, we launched an exciting new pilot project for our Coventry and Warwickshire NCS graduates. Funded by The Dulverton Trust, the project has engaged over 100 young people to date in volunteering and social action projects, including a sleep out with Coventry and Warwickshire YMCA, stewarding at Coventry Half Marathon and working on a research project with local radio station, Radio Plus.

The Social Integration Commission has published its first report, ‘How integrated is modern Britain?’. Co-funded by The Challenge and British Gas, the Commission is a major independent national enquiry into key questions related to the UK’s increasing diversity.

Today, The Mayor of London is hosting an event at City Hall to mark the 30th anniversary of National Volunteers’ Week and to launch the HeadStart London scheme. He will be joined by speakers Martine Wright, Paralympian and Team London Champion, and Peter Cheese, CEO Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD).

Friday, 07 March 2014

Giving young people a HeadStart

Last September, The Challenge launched a new pilot programme called HeadStart.  Supported by the Mayor of London and attracting 90 young people so far, the HeadStart programme guarantees NCS graduates an interview for part time work once they have completed 16 hours of volunteering in their communities.

Later this year, The Challenge will launch the Social Integration Commission; a 12 month national inquiry set up to explore whether a lack of connection between people of different ages, ethnicities and social backgrounds has an effect on our economy and society.

A number of Sky employees have been involved in a mentoring scheme for NCS graduates from Hillingdon and Hounslow.  Sky first supported NCS in 2012, when they welcomed a team of participants into their office and sat on a number of ‘Dragon’s Den’ panels, judging ideas for community campaigns.

We are delighted to announce that The Challenge is the proud recipient of a Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Award.  This is the first time the charity registered to take part in the annual ranking, now in its fourteenth year.

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