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  • Writer's pictureCommunity Bridges

Toucan Employment - a charity promoting social inclusion

Toucan Employment is the UK’s longest-running supported employment charity for people with learning difficulties/disabilities and autism; we aim to reduce the social exclusion of clients from the London boroughs of Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham, and Brent, by aiding them to find and retain employment.

Their service is tailored to meet both the needs of the job-seeker and the employer by offering full support during the whole of the recruitment process; they work with employers to set up/find jobs that are suited to their clients’ abilities and interests and offer on-the-job support and job coaching to meet the needs of their clients and their employers, as required.

Since Toucan was established in 1989 they have worked with hundreds of individuals and employers to promote the inclusion of disability in the workplace. In the last 10 years they have supported well over 650 people with learning difficulties and disabilities into paid employment with employers including all the major supermarkets, London hotels and museums, the Houses of Parliament, and many more smaller employers.

The overarching aim of Toucan's work is to support clients into sustainable employment, and to achieve this aim they work out what is needed to get clients there. Some clients may just need to be linked into an opportunity, and supported with the application process, then they will only need minimal support after that. Other clients may never have worked or not worked for a long time, so would likely need support with a new or updated CV, a work experience placement (to see what they were like in a work setting, and to get an up-to-date work reference for the CV), training (some of which they offer themselves, or they have good links with partner organisations who offer additional training), soft skills training, and support into, and at, employment. However, some clients may only be interesting in work experience or volunteering and Toucan can assist with that as well.

Toucan's client work in a whole range of sectors - admin, catering, hospitality, retail, facilities, and many Southwark clients who have been in work for many years (20+ for a few clients) - many with the same employers. A core tenent of Toucan's work is about finding the right role and employer for clients, rather than a "square peg in a round hole" - this really helps with sustainability; their thinking is that rather than a quick fix, the right role will benefit everyone.

The work is done mostly in a 1:1 method with the clients, they work collaboratively to achieve these aims, and offer holistic support as needed on matters that would impact on clients' ability to enter, or sustain, employment.

Toucan Employment offers specific work for:

  • Southwark clients aged over 25 with learning difficulties/disabilities and autism;

  • Southwark clients aged 18-25 with learning difficulties/disabilities and autism;

  • Lambeth clients aged 18-25 with learning difficulties/disabilities and autism;

  • Lambeth clients aged over 25 with learning difficulties/disabilities and autism;

  • Lewisham clients aged over 25 with learning difficulties/disabilities and autism;

  • A hospitality-specific project in Lambeth for Lambeth clients aged 18-30 with learning difficulties/disabilities and autism;

  • Links with the Cafe Van Gogh in Brixton for clients interested in catering.

Find them at the Thames Reach Employment Academy on Peckham Road.

If you are interested or know someone who might be,

send an email to Toucan's office -

or ring the office line 020 3751 9681

to arrange an appointment.



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