The Challenge Network

The Challenge 2010: London South

The Challenge 2010 is a 3-month civic service programme for 520 diverse 16 year-olds from the London Boroughs of Southwark and Bromley, helping them to connect across boundaries, develop socially and emotionally, and strengthen their communities.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from to

Registered Charity in England and Wales (1129239)




  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • OtherOther


  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)



The UK’s young people are struggling to come of age; they have lower confidence, weaker relationships and a lower sense of belonging than in any other developed country; 1.3m young people are NEET, and approximately 200 school-age children enter the justice system every day (UNICEF, UK Government Citizenship Survey 2007/8). Opportunities for young people to mix across post code, social and ethnic barriers are limited, with people in the same areas often leading ‘parallel lives’, breeding fear and mistrust. The consequences on UK society can be seen in impacts on the economy (youth unemployment is at its highest level since records began), community participation, health and crime levels. Our programme has three main sections. The Personal Challenge: One week of adventure activities for teams of 12 people plus mentors in a residential setting to bond the teams together, build self-awareness, personal responsibility and trust. The Team Challenge: A residential week, where teams are accommodated at a local University Halls of Residence overnight. The same teams as in the previous week are challenged to serve their local community using skills they are passionate about. Examples include designing and performing a show for residents of a day centre for the elderly or homeless and staging a public debate in the community about a local issue such as the perception of young people. The Real Challenge: Teams have one week to explore some of the key challenges facing their communities and commit to a project that they will deliver in a local neighbourhood which will bring the community together (e.g., organize a street party, neighbourhood gallery, community lunch, community sports day etc). Each team then has two months to plan and deliver these projects, with the support of a dedicated mentor and a full-time community organiser. Goals: 1. Increase in trust: A 40% increase in participants who ‘feel strongly that if you disagree with someone it is worth talking about it’. 2. Increased confidence: A 50% reduction in participants ‘unsure of what their main skills are’, and a 60% increase in those who want feel able to inspire others. 3. Increased volunteering: We want to see 50% of participants go on to engage in voluntary work in the local community, and 50% return to The Challenge as mentors. 4. Skills & learning: A 70% increase in participants who feel that their leadership, communication and teamworking skills have increased, and a 78% increase in those who expect to be moderately or highly skilled when they leave school. We want our young people to leave us equipped with the skills and experiences to reach their full potential. 5. Increased sense of belonging: A 70% increase in those feeling a real sense of belonging to their neighbourhood, and a 60% increase in participants who feel able to influence decisions in their local area. 6. High-quality, accessible activities for residents that allow genuine social mixing, with 70% of Challengers leaving the programme with more friends from more diverse backgrounds. The direct cost per young person to take part in and complete The Challenge is currently £1,250. Key drivers of this cost are programme staffing & training (£300), participant marketing (£80) and programme delivery (£850).