A CHARITY is helping young people make their area a better place to live, helping them improve their own life chances at the same time.
The Challenge helps school leavers make the most of their summer, building their confidence and skills before helping them use these new found abilities to fundraise for good causes and campaign about issues they care about.
Now in it's fourth year it is clear teenagers can see the benefits. The scheme has had a 200 fold jump in participants from 50 to 10,000 nationwide. Last summer 350 of them were from Ealing.
Past participants visited Acton High School, in Gunnersbury Lane on Friday (27) to talk about their experiences on the three-week programme.
Rasan Ishakil, 17, of Daffodil Street, East Acton, Adrianna Borkowska, 16, of Shepherd's Bush and Princess Bamgbose, 16, of White City, all ex-pupils of the school, returned to inspire others on Friday.
Adrianna, now studying A-levels at Twyford High School, said: "If I could do it again, I would. It was so much fun and I'm sure whatever I decide to do, the skills I learned will be a huge help in my career. It builds your confidence and looks good to employers."
The second is based at a university campus where participants can choose professional training in either enterprise, photography, sport, drama or media.
And the third sees them harness these skills to organise a fundraising event for a charity and a campaign to raise awareness about an issue of their choice. They have included a sponsored bike ride and a t-shirt campaign asking adults not to stereotype young people.
The plans they draw up have to be passed by a Dragon's Den Style panel before being put into action during four weekends from September.
Last year Angie Bray, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, was one of the judges.
She said: "The Challenge did a great job last year and I'm delighted their getting the chance to do it in Ealing again. Everyone should try to take advantage. They will have the time of their lives."
The Challenge is subsidised by the government and so costs £50 person rather than £1500.
Visit www.the-challenge.org to find out more.