Our programmes

Our programmes

Through our three programmes, National Citizen Service, HeadStart, and Step Forward, we bring together people from different backgrounds, building trust and developing young peoples’ employment and life skills.

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Our voice

Our voice

We speak up about the importance of building a more integrated society - sharing great ideas resulting from our policy research and programmes.

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Sample Images

Our story

In April 2009, five employees and a handful of volunteers founded The Challenge.

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Thoughts from The Challenge

News from The Challenge



The Challenge is the UK's leading charity for building a more integrated society. We work on a local level to bring together people from all ages, ethnicities and walks of life, connecting communities and building trust.

To learn more about our work and impact, please watch the video above or click here to view a quick guide to our mission and programmes.


  • The Challenge is the largest provider of the National Citizen Service in the UK



  • 72% of our NCS participants agreed with the statement: ‘I am more able to trust people’



  • We employ over 400 permanent staff nationally and over 3,500 seasonal staff



  • 76% of our NCS participants felt more confident about getting a job in the future



  • In 2014, 93% of HeadStart graduates felt they had improved communication skills



  • In 2014, 66% of HeadStart graduates felt they would continue volunteering after HeadStart



  • Nearly a third of young people who have heard of Step Forward rated it as their first choice when leaving school



  • In 2014, 85% of HeadStart graduates felt they better trusted people from different walks of life



  • In 2014, The Challenge collaborated with 800 community and business partners



  • In 2014, 78% of HeadStart graduates felt more connected to their community



  • 88% of our NCS participants felt they were better at working in a team



  • 94% of young people attending NCS, delivered by The Challenge in 2014, attended state schools, with 13% on free school meals



  • Step Forward received over 400 applications in its first year for just 48 places



  • 7% of those attending NCS, delivered by The Challenge in 2014, had a disability



  • In 2014, 52% of participants in NCS, delivered by The Challenge, were from a black and minority ethnic background



  • Over 30,000 16 and 17 year olds will take part in NCS delivered by The Challenge in 2015