Case Studies

Please click on the links below to read the different testimonials

  • “Before starting The Challenge, 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. The Challenge 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 The Challenge encouraged me to develop skills I didn't think I had and build genuine friendships with people I would naturally ignore.”

  • “The challenge has definitely helped me to get along with people from different backgrounds.

    At the start of the programme, I didn't see eye to eye with one individual, but by the end of The challenge we got on really well. The Challenge has helped me understand that beyond the surface, it doesn't matter how different someone is to you, we're all still people.

    Since taking part in The Challenge, my attitude towards my local community has changed. I no longer loiter around. Also my views on certain issues are different to those that I would have held before The challenge.”

  • “At secondary school, I received support from the pastoral care team because my confidence was so low.

    I couldn’t even answer a simple question in class. When out and about I walked around with my eyes glued firmly to the floor and tried to avoid the gaze of every passing stranger.

    I never thought that would change.

    When I first heard about The Challenge, I scoured the reviews and looked into what it might involve. I was sceptical and ever the pessimist I thought it would be a recipe for disaster, at least for someone like me.

    But, The Challenge gave me courage and taught me the confidence I needed to succeed. It gave me the encouragement and self-esteem that helped me to find a part time job and to have faith in myself. It taught me perseverance, determination and willpower. It developed my social skills, helped me to make friends, and made me a better person.

    I was wrong to be sceptical, and I was wrong to be a pessimist. The Challenge is one of the best things I have ever done, and I can honestly say it changed my life, for the better.”

  • The Challenge 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 The Challenge has continued to provide me with.

    Before I participated in The Challenge 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 The Challenge; thankfully it wasn’t. 

  • The Challenge Network 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.

    “I have been working with teams from The Challenge for the last three years and at Blackfriars settlement for ten years.  There are so many older people in our community who feel isolated. There are also older people who have families, yet, don’t see them. Some have no contact with the community unless they attend clubs like ours and day care centres. During my time at Blackfriars I have learned so much about older people: they love company, they love telling stories and they want you to listen to them. For voluntary sector charities like ours, the work of The Challenge Network is so important. Your 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.”

  • “Naz Project London (NPL) works on sexual health issues within London’s BME communities.

    Partnering with The Challenge is an opportunity to work with young people outside a formal education setting. Most importantly for us, it allows us to engage with people who wouldn’t otherwise volunteer on sexual health projects– a difficult subject to target. Young people campaigned and fundraised on our behalf in order to help raise awareness of our work. I was impressed by the young peoples’ engagement with our issues, and keenness to help our work.  Daniel Fry, a colleague commented “I want to commend everyone who took part in The Challenge focus group. I only spent a short time talking to some of the young people, but I was really impressed by the maturity everyone at The Challenge showed when talking about Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender issues, especially the group I was lucky enough to work with. For a lot of young gay people it is really difficult growing up, especially when they have experienced homophobia and bullying at school like I have done. However it was really nice to see young people from the programme approaching the subject of homosexuality and sex in general with such open-mindedness and a genuine interest. It makes me very hopeful about young people and especially their attitudes to gay men and women in the future.”

  • “I am delighted to support The Challenge Network for the second year.

    As Chairman of QBE’s Charitable Foundation in Europe, we approved a grant to help fund 500 graduates of the summer programme to stay involved in their community in the London area. The work The Challenge does is a perfect fit with the ethos of our Foundation which is primarily to help people aspire to levels of achievement that they might not otherwise have thought possible. I was also flattered to be asked to be a dragon on one of their Dragon’s Den panels where their participants were asked to bid for funding for two campaigns; a fundraising event on behalf of a community partner and a campaign that would address an issue of concern within their local community. Both events would then be implemented within their local communities. The performance of these young people, most of whom had no previous experience of public speaking, was astonishing and absolutely inspiring. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it was a fitting showcase for me personally of the great work that The Challenge does.”

  • “Heathrow Communities 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 Network and its programme in West London provides 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.”

  •  “Since taking part in The Challenge, my son Jordan has more confidence in himself.

    The residential aspects of the programme encouraged him to be more independent. The Challenge 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 The Challenge because everyone will get something from it; parents, young people and others around them.”

  •  “I would definitely encourage pupils to join The Challenge as pupils who took part from Parrenthorn High School gained so much from it.

    It took them out of their "comfort zone" and really broadened their horizons. There was team-building, adventure, challenge, meeting and collaborating with new people and, very importantly, there was a sense of achievement at the end of it. Thank you so much for letting us be part of that.”

  •  “Our twin sons took part in The Challenge in Birmingham.

    The post-GSCE phase is an extended period out of formal education which this programme targets very productively. It was a valuable opportunity as it gave them experience of meeting and making friends with a diverse group of young people with whom they would not ordinarily have interacted. The week based at the university halls of residence developed their independent living skills as well as providing the important opportunity of engaging with a community group which was outside their comfort zone. We saw the immediate benefit to them in terms of personal confidence, independence and a broader mind-set. These experiences also helped them with the transition to Sixth form; raised their personal bar for aspirations for Higher Education, and established a commitment to community. The Challenge is unique in providing an intense personal development programme with impact in a relatively short timescale which has long term benefits to the individual and their community.

    Both of us are education professionals (a Head Teacher and a School Improvement Adviser) and we are actively recommending The Challenge programme in schools within our respective Local Authorities as well as personal contacts.”

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