New funding to help boost young disabled people’s job prospects

A south London charity which saw demand soar during the pandemic can help more young disabled people boost their confidence and job prospects – thanks to a six-figure funding boost.

Bromley Mencap has received £103,100 from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder – to provide training, work experience and volunteering opportunities for 16 to 25-year-olds with disabilities.

It will offer training in horticulture, catering and bike recycling – refurbishing and selling on old bikes donated by the public –  as well as work experience at the charity's refreshments kiosk in Norman Park.

The charity received 1,200 new referrals for its services last year – a 100% increase on the previous year – due to the impact of Covid and the closure of other services for disabled people in the area.

A City Bridge Trust spokesperson said:

“Research suggests young disabled people have been particularly impacted by the pandemic and feel more isolated and excluded from their local community as a result.

“The project we’re funding is providing valuable training and real, practical work and volunteering experience which makes a real difference to improving young people’s life prospects.”

Bromley Mencap says young disabled people often find it difficult to access work experience opportunities as they lack the relevant experience and qualifications. Meanwhile, employers may not have accessible premises or suitable training for staff.

Bromley Mencap Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lynch MBE said:

“This scheme supports young disabled people to improve their confidence and wellbeing, develop friendships and provides a route into volunteering which might otherwise not be available.

“It empowers them and gives them the confidence to be able to do what other young people do – get a job, earn money, be part of the local community and, the ultimate goal, gain their independence.”

More information about Bromley Mencap is at www.bromleymencap.org.uk

The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of over £25 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk

Case study

Tom Swaden, 24, lives in Bromley and joined the bicycle maintenance training programme, based at The Lodge training centre, in Norman Park, in 2020. 

He has learnt bicycle maintenance skills and supports Bromley Mencap’s bike loan scheme in the public park to develop his customer service skills. 

He has undertaken work experience placements in a local bike workshop and in a food shop, to broaden his work experiences.

He said: “Being at the Lodge has taught me new skills and enabled me to meet new people and to become more confident in my own abilities.”

Picture captions

(1) Tom Swaden at the Bromley Mencap bicycle maintenance training programme with trainer Steve O’Hara

(2) Tom Swaden learning barista skills

(3) Horticulture student James Summers (right)

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK – www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The City Corporation is the sole trustee of Bridge Houses Estates, a charity founded in 1097 to maintain London Bridge, and Members of its Court of Common Council form the Bridge House Estates Board.

Bridge House Estates is now responsible for maintaining Tower, London, Southwark, Millennium and Blackfriars Bridges, and its grants team, City Bridge Trust – founded in 1995 – gives out over £25 million a year to good causes across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk


Tim Fletcher | Media officer – public services

City of London Corporation

07738 862229 | tim.fletcher@cityoflondon.gov.uk