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Bridging the Disabled Employment Gap

31 March 2017 | Updated 01 January 1970

A multi-million pound programme designed to open up employment opportunities for young disabled Londoners was announced week ending March 31.

The City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, pledged its commitment to narrowing the employment gap for young disabled people in the capital with a new £3.3million fund for organisations tackling the issue.

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 invited to take part include Action on Disability, Inclusion London, Action for Kids, National Autistic Society, Muscular Dystrophy UK and Whizz-Kidz.

Within the £3.3 million, a pot of £350,000 will be made available to support paid work experience and internships for young disabled Londoners in charities and the private sector .

Employment rates have risen steadily in the capital over the last ten years. However, 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 and plans to be fully up and running by September this year.


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. 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.

Alison Gowman, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust committee, said: “We will be funding work which will give employers the support, skills and resources they need to increase opportunities for disabled people. The programme has a wider mission and is looking to influence policy in this area and make real change for the better. “

The City Bridge Trust provides grants totalling around £20 million per year towards charitable activity benefitting Greater London. It is dedicated to making the Capital a fairer place to work and live. The Trust has awarded around 7,500 grants totalling over £360 million since it first began in 1995


Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 31 March 2017


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