National Citizen Service with The Challenge - Slough YOT(July 2016)

Summary: The National Citizen Service is a government back three phase programme.
Age: 15-17 (specifically children in year 11 and 12 only)
Sex: n/a
Cost: £50 maximum, financial bursaries are offered for the personal coach scheme there is no cost




  • Support children to have new positive experience and give something back to their community
  • Support children to build self-confidence, responsibility and social skills people
  • Engage children in new opportunities to help them build a strong foundation as they transition into adulthood.
  • Support and enable children from a wide range of backgrounds to meet to help beat the stereotypes and issues amongst young people



The National Citizen Service (NCS) is a government backed three phase programme designed for children aged 15-17 years, however, the child must be turning 16 by the 31st August before the start of the programme. All year 11 and year 12 students are is eligible, including children that are not in education employment or training.

The programme lasts for 3 weeks and is run nationally, The Challenge is one of the largest providers of NCS and is run in 7 regions. The first part ‘Get Active’ take place in an outdoor activity centre and is a residential with other children, secondly ‘Get Involved’ – The children are encouraged to learn new skills in one of five areas such as; sport, drama, photography, enterprise and art. Once they have developed this skill they go into the community and teach other children the new skillset. Finally part three ‘Make your Mark’ –is where children create and lead in a social action project. Once they have completed the programme they receive a certificate from the Prime Minister. The children then have the opportunity to engage in The Challenge graduate opportunities to support them into work and further education.

The programme has various start dates throughout the summer as well as an autumn programme during then half term.

Children can be provided with a placement following from a completed referral from a professional. The children are then allocated into a team depending on their interests and skillset.

NCS with The Challenge also has a further unique aspect in that it also offers a personal coach scheme, designed specifically for hard to reach children. The personal coach scheme allows support before the programme, one to one support during as well after the programme.

This scheme is specifically for children known by the local authorities such as children in care or in the criminal justice system.


Please note that the NCS Programme was evaluated in 2014, and it showed some positive outcomes.  If you would like to access the full report, you can do so here.


Implementing the Practice:

  • Slough YOT was introduced to the local Outreach Associate from NCS the Challenge and a presentation took place to explain to all staff members.
  • Slough YOT completed the referral form for each young people and emailed it over to the NCS representative.
  • Following the referral being accepted, the referees will need to participate in a 40 minutes (approximately) telephone contact with NCS to discuss the referral in further depth. A risk assessment may also be required to ensure NCS can put all the appropriate support in place prior to the programme.
  • The Outreach Associate from NCS for the area then meets with all the young people individually and starts to build positive relationships. Based on these meetings there will be a match for the personal coach to the young person.
  • The personal coach, young person, Key worker and NCS Representative will have an initial meeting 2 weeks before the programme starts. After this initial meeting the personal coach and young person will meet again alone to help build further rapport.
  • On the start date the personal coach will travel with the young person to the programme and all logistical support is provided by NCS




YOT: Slough Youth Offending Team
Name: Barbara Griffith
Source Organisation: NCS The Challenge (Berkshire and Buckinghamshire)
Name: Roxanne Potts
Telephone: 07469151497