Who we are
Toucan Employment is the UK's longest-running supported employment charity for people with learning difficulties/disabilities; we work to support clients from Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham, Brent, and Haringey into sustainable employment. Since we were established in 1989 we have worked with hundreds of individuals and employers to promote the inclusion of disability in the workplace. In the last 10 years we have supported well over 550 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.
What we're looking to do
We intend to set up a social enterprise in the form of a microbrewery. It will be a not-for-profit business which will move towards sustainability after an initial 12 month period. The business will be staffed by employees with learning disabilities in the main. They will be supported by a small team of staff who will have a dual responsibility; to work on production and to support the employees with learning disabilities. The brewery offers the chance to specify a number of different kinds of jobs that the employees can try in order to discover what kind of work suits them best.
"Good beer doing good!"
How we will achieve what we want to
The brewery will provide jobs and time-limited work experience placements, not long-term work placements. At the same time there will be an emphasis on learning and an underlying expectation that employees will move on to work elsewhere in the employment market when they are ready. The business will work to normal business hours and have ordinary expectations of its employees in terms of punctuality, attendance and focus on work.
Where we're going to be based, and why
The brewery will be based in Southwark. This is the area where we have been working since 1989, we have developed a strong relationship with the community and where our work with local employers will enable us to develop sales. The building will be a leased industrial unit with good access to public transport. We have consulted other charitable organisations who have established microbreweries so we can learn from their successes and failures, and have started to canvass potential purchasers for the products so generally feel we have a good sense of the landscape. We have also consulted extensively with clients, via the Users' Group, and the microbrewery has been a very popular idea with them, so we feel there is a popular mass within the client group behind the project.
Who we are going to be working with, and why they need the project
The micro brewery will mainly be working with “vulnerable adults”, Southwark or Lambeth residents with learning difficulties and disabilities who are either long-term unemployed, or have never worked; their clients’ needs are mild or moderate, rather than those clients referred with substantial or critical needs. This level of need means that often these clients have slipped through the net – getting little or not additional support at school and in their day-to-day lives; few of them have had social service assessments and so cannot access many of the services and opportunities open to those people with more severe learning difficulties and disabilities. Additionally with a number of local factories and places of employment closing we are seeing a different set of vulnerable adults – those who have only ever worked in these one places since leaving school and now need lots of help to adjust to job-searching and working in the modern world.
Thank you for reading down this far; we hope you will want to donate, but even if not thank you again.
21/03/18 - New reward. Donate £100 and you get to name a beer (within reason - nothing offensive!)...