What is The Challenge?

Are you interested in youth work? This month we’re talking to The Challenge – a national charity who run youth and community programmes. We’ve asked them to tell us more about how they help connect and inspire young people, promoting an engaged and responsible society!


The Challenge What does The Challenge do?

The Challenge run youth and community programmes that have the central aim of mixing diverse groups of people with each other.

We are proud to live in a country with a rich mix of different ages, cultures and backgrounds. But instead of valuing our differences, we often let them divide us. We know that many of us feel disconnected from each other and do not understand or trust people who are different from us. It doesn’t have to be this way.
The Challenge Network is a fast-growing social enterprise that connects and inspires people across Britain to strengthen their communities.

Find out more about social enterprises here.

What is NCS with The Challenge?
NCS with The Challenge
is a programme that brings together young people from different backgrounds, builds their confidence, and challenges them to make a National Citizen Servicedifference in their local community. In summer 2015, 23,000 young people across London, Surrey, Berkshire, the West Midlands and the North West will take part in NCS with The Challenge for an intensive three-week summer programme followed by four weekends in September.

NCS with The Challenge is part of the National Citizen Service (NCS), a life-changing experience for 16 and 17-year-olds. Young people get the chance to do outdoor activities, meet new people and give something back to their communities. By taking part they learn new skills and have a great experience they can put on their CVs or college applications. NCS promotes:

      • A more cohesive society by mixing participants from different backgrounds;
      • A more responsible society by supporting young people’s transition into adulthood;
      • A more engaged society by enabling young people to work together to create social action projects in their local communities.

Find out more about NCS, in CharityJob’s interview with Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society.

We challenge young people to learn key skills for the workplace, and make a difference in their community. They achieve this by completing three challenges:

      • NCS Personal Challenge: Socially mixed teams of young people bond through a week of challenging outdoor activities.
      • NCS Team Challenge: Teams return home and use their skills to experience serving the local community.
      • NCS Real Challenge: Teams work to design and organise activities that will bring the local community together. The Real Challenge Design (RCD) is the third part of the summer programme and the Real Challenge Action (RCA) takes place over four weekends in September, or, on pilot programmes, during the following week.

All young people who complete NCS with The Challenge graduate from our programme and are signposted into year-round volunteering, membership and social engagement opportunities through The Challenge Society.


The Challenge is a fast moving, rapidly growing organisation, with dedicated staff who all have an interest in working with young people to strengthen their communities. Could you work with The Challenge? Check out current opportunities here.

Emma Begg

Product and Marketing Manager at CharityConnect. Love learning about new technology and helping to create a culture of collaboration over at www.charityconnect.co.uk

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