David Cameron cited The Challenge programme, run by The Challenge Network charity, in his launch of the Conservatives’ National Citizen Service policy today.
The Challenge’s aims are to help young people understand the responsibilities of adulthood, to bring them together with people of different social backgrounds and to motivate them to get involved in strengthening their local communities.
The programme recruits teams of diverse 16 year olds from their local community to take on an intensive course that includes physical, creative and civic challenges. It culminates in them planning and running their own community project. A typical team of 12 young people will be drawn from 10-15 local schools plus referrals from other youth organisations.
The programme pilot took place last summer with 158 16-year olds in Southwark and North Hammersmith. This summer, 630 participants from London and Birmingham will take part.
The programme has three main sections: