Bridge to Work

Whilst employment rates in London have risen steadily over the last ten years, only half of working-age disabled people in London are in employment, compared to nearly four out of five non-disabled people.

Bridge to Work will focus its support on projects aimed at helping young disabled people between the ages of 16-30, starting in September 2017.

The programme has three main aims:

  • Supporting disabled people aged 16-30 into paid employment.
  • Sustaining disabled people in paid employment – through advice, support and developing good practice.
  • Strengthening the links between potential employers and disabled young Londoners, including improving recruitment processes.

City Bridge Trust recognises that the barriers to employment faced by disabled people can be multiple and complex, but many challenges can be overcome with the right support.

We are pledging our commitment to narrowing the employment gap for young disabled people in the capital with a new £3.3 million fund for organisations tackling the issue. This will include £350,000 to support paid work experience and internships for young disabled Londoners in charities and the private sector – with an emphasis on SMEs.

Over the next three years, the Bridge to Work Programme will provide money for projects which offer employability support for young disabled people, and strengthen links between employers and the disabled community.

The organisations taking part include Action on Disability, Inclusion London, Action for Kids, National Autistic Society, Muscular Dystrophy UK and Whizz-Kidz.

Meanwhile, a separate £1.2 million award has been made to the Centre for Mental Health for work with the increasing number of Londoners with mental ill-health. This grant will provide Individual Placement Support in two London Boroughs, working closely with local NHS Mental health teams. IPS is an established model of support which aims to get people into paid employment as soon as possible, with support provided to both employer and employee.

Beyond the initial outcomes delivered by the projects supported, the aim is to use learning from these projects to better inform commissioners, policy makers, and other funders. Following the recent release of a green paper from the Department for Work and Pensions which examines the disability employment gap, it is hoped that this work funded by the Trust will have a positive influence on future government policy.