The Challenge is the UK's leading charity for building a more integrated society. They work on a local level to bring together people from all ages, ethnicities and walks of life, connecting communities and building trust.
In April 2009, five employees and a handful of volunteers founded The Challenge. They were concerned that, as Britain becomes more diverse by income, age and ethnicity, it becomes more important that different groups and individuals mix. Otherwise, the differences will come to divide us. That year they set out to run a summer programme that would reach 158 young people in the heart of London and kick-start the life of an organisation which has continued to expand ever since. The programme they launched that summer would become the National Citizen Service (NCS) and would, within a few short years, touch the lives of tens of thousands of people.
In 2010 the first programme, which became NCS, rolled out to encompass South-West Birmingham before expanding still further to cover Greater London, the West Midlands and North-West England the following year. By 2013, NCS delivered by The Challenge was being offered in all London Boroughs, Surrey, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester, seeing us become the leading provider of the NCS across the whole of the UK. This swift story of growth has not yet reached its conclusion, however, and to this day The Challenge continues to expand in line with the desire to encourage social integration across Britain.
The Challenge has always sought to adapt to the needs of those they seek to empower and they now run three programmes that enable us to live out the mission of inspiring and connecting people in order to strengthen their communities. Alongside the year round NCS programme, The Challenge delivers a successful school leavers programme called Step Forward, as well as an innovative volunteering programme which upskills and empowers those looking for work, called HeadStart.
Today, The Challenge is the leading charity for building a more integrated society and employs over 550 full-time staff. The modest number of 158 young people reached in 2009 continues to grow and we now deliver the programmes to over 30,000 people each year and impact the lives of a great deal more through the work with policy-makers.
They have faced challenges of the own along the way, but the ever-expanding pool of employees remains firmly committed to bringing about positive social change by inspiring people to strengthen their communities and forge meaningful and lasting connections with people different to themselves.
Where is The Challenge Network