About Us

Our Story

The Vision of Mission EmployAble

At Mission EmployAble, we strongly believe that young adults with learning disabilities have the right to work, to lead fulfilled and purposeful lives, to have their individual gifts and talents recognised and to feel included as valued members of society.

There are 1.5 million people with learning disabilities in the UK and almost 94% are unemployed. Far too many are missing out on the basic right to aspire to a career, along with the wider social networks, better

emotional and physical health, and increased independence that comes from having a job. They share the same aspirations as everyone else and they want nothing more than the opportunity to demonstrate their full potential.

Mission EmployAble aims to train people with learning disabilities, to employ some and help others find work so that they can lead fulfilled lives working and contributing to their local community.

Based in a new purpose built pavilion on the existing site of the Chorleywood Cricket Club, Mission EmployAble aims to run a new training café / tea room for cricketers and the community.

Through this provision we will provide employment programmes to young adults with a wide range of abilities. We want people with learning disabilities to reach their career potential by finding suitable employment, to be valued in the workplace and to play an active role in their local community.

Our Shared Opportunity

  • The Chorleywood Cricket Club is already committed to a major refurbishment and extension of its existing cricket pavilion on Chorleywood Common
  • On its own the clubhouse lies dormant for 90% of the year
  • Mission EmployAble requires a venue for a 30 cover cafe / tea room with a gift shop to provide training opportunities for over 20 trainees per week
  • Mission EmployAble and the Chorleywood Cricket Club are now working together to build a brand new pavilion with combined facilities (cricket pavilion / cafe / tea room / training facility)
  • Public facilities on Chorleywood Common are limited and the local community will benefit from a new cafe / tea room within a newly built pavilion

Our Team


Katharine Weston (Chair)

Katharine is a doctor by training and spent over 20 years in the NHS. She was a consultant dermatologist with a special interest in melanoma and dermatological surgery. She helped set up and was clinical lead for the melanoma service at GSTT and has published over 50 papers in peer reviewed journals. She no longer practices clinical medicine but is a Trustee of Melanoma Focus and leads the National Melanoma Database project which she set up. She has 4 children, one of whom has learning difficulties especially in speech, language and communication. Other interests include flying, gardening and life drawing.

Mark Peter Douglas

Having gained a first degree in law and a post graduate Diploma in Management Studies, Mark worked in retail and operations management within the hospitality and entertainment sectors for a number of years before being appointed as Director of Visitor Experience at Warner Bros Studio Tour. Based in Hertfordshire, he brings experience of both the private and charity sectors, team development and more importantly the desire to exceed customer expectations. With a passion for football, he has coached a youth football team for the past seven years.

Philip Garner

Philip taught in mainstream and specialist schools for nearly 20 years. He has subsequently worked as a Lecturer and Professor of Special and Inclusive Education at the universities of Brunel, Nottingham Trent and Northampton. Philip has engaged in school-focussed research projects both in the UK and internationally and has directed funded research for governments in diverse nations including China, Australia, Malaysia, Bhutan, Sierra Leone and Oman. He has published widely in the field of Special Education and Disability and frequently presents keynote lectures at major international conferences. Philip is currently the Editor of Support for Learning, a professional journal with a special educational needs focus as well as Series Editor for the Routledge book series concerning specialist educational provision for children and young people. Philip is a keen rock climber and lives in Loudwater, near Chorleywood.

Donald James Reid

Donald has worked and volunteered in the charity sector for the past 9 years, including 7 years as a project manager for The Cranfield Trust where he worked with over 150 different charities, helping deliver strategic, organisational and operational advice. He previously worked for 34 years for the Royal Dutch Shell group in a number of strategic, sales and marketing roles. Donald is a founding trustee of Mission EmployAble and has a particular interest in ensuring that the charity meets all regulatory and legal requirements.

Richard Walton

Richard is a former senior police leader who now works in the private and charity sectors. He is a founding trustee and Chair of The Educational Frontier Trust (TEFT), a UK registered charity that provides funding for the educational needs of marginalised and vulnerable children in Kenya. He has lived with his family in Chorleywood for 25 years.

Neil Twogood

Neil is a qualified chartered accountant. He worked in finance and line management roles for a global manufacturing company before co-founding a telecommunications company that was subsequently sold to a large US Telco. He then invested in, and joined as COO/CFO, a psychometric services company which, after 6 years, was sold to a leading US training company. After completing his MSc (dip.) in Executive Coaching and Organisational Design he works as an executive coach and as an associate Programme Director at Ashridge Hult Business School. Neil is a Governor at Berkhamsted School. He has been married for over 30 years, has three children and for hobbies does something active and outdoors whenever he can.


Cassandra Langham (Training Manager)

Cass, a special needs teacher from Australia who settled locally in 2020 is the training manager for Mission EmployAble’s first Supported Internship programme, which began on September 6. Cass, is a highly experienced teacher of children and teenagers with a wide range of learning disabilities. She gained a Bachelor of Learning Management degree from Central Queensland University in 2005 and since then has taught in primary and secondary schools in Melbourne, Australia and also in Yorkshire, where one of her favourite memories was taking pupils with special educational needs to camp in the seaside town of Whitby. In Australia, Cass spent a year teaching a group of mainly indigenous students with complex learning needs.

Our Partnerships

Mission EmployAble aims to provide a range of supported internships, training young adults with learning disabilities in employability and functional skills. Following completion of their Supported Internship, Mission EmployAble will help the trainees to find paid work and maintain links with them and their employers to ensure a lasting placement. Our partnership with the local community, colleges, employers, activity providers and charities, is essential to us. This will enable us to deliver education, training and support service for people with learning disabilities within the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire local area.

Buckinghamshire College Group

Our first group of interns will now spend a year learning practical workplace skills, on a specially devised Supported Internship programme in conjunction with Buckinghamshire College Group, leading to industry-recognised qualifications.Throughout their work experience our interns will receive personalised support from our Training Manager, Cass Langham, who will help them with on-the-job training along with Maths, English, Independence and Employability classes, as well as with specific skills for their jobs.

Register here for 2022 Supported Internship Programme

The Junction

Cass Langham. Photo courtesy Simon Varnals.

Just across the road from Beaumont House, we will be training in The Junction Community centre (within Christ Church) for the English and Maths component utilising the community room. The Junction cafe will also be available occasionally for our interns to gain hospitality experience.

“This is a thoroughly worthwhile initiative, bringing together all sections of the community and teaching great work skills to young people. The interns are a delightful presence in our Junction, and it is wonderful to see them increase in confidence and expertise with each passing week. We warmly support and endorse this important initiative."
Rev’d Canon David Hall, Vicar of Christ Church, Chorleywood

Beaumont House

Cass Langham, Judith Boikhtso, Sharon Rochas. Photo courtesy Simon Varnals.

Six deserving interns were successful in securing a place on the sought-after supported internship through Buckinghamshire College Group; a program aimed to assist young people aged 19-25 with learning disabilities to gain paid work. Led by Mission EmployAble’s Training Manager Cassandra Langham, interns will pass through a period of induction before fine-tuning their course module selection and associated training program. Students will complete their on-the-job component of the course at Chorleywood Beaumont.

General Manager of Chorleywood Beaumont, Judith Boikhotso, said: “Mission EmployAble is a fantastic scheme and we are delighted to welcome our six new interns to Chorleywood Beaumont Care Community and help them gain the skills needed to progress towards paid employment. We are certain they will all be valuable additions to the team.”

Chorleywood Parish Council

The New Cricket Pavilion, which will house the training cafe, is on Common Land which is owned and managed by Chorleywood Parish Council on behalf of the community. The council has supported the project from its inception and assisted with planning permission, DEFRA approval, ecological and Common Law advice in addition to the authoring and finalisation of the leases and development agreement. Debbie Rosario, Chair of the Parish Council, said “ After several years of discussion we are excited that the rebuilding of the Cricket Pavilion and subsequent provision of the charity's cafe can finally go ahead. We welcome the expansion of community cricket on the Common and the cafe as an opportunity to provide training for young adults with learning disabilities. We look forward to a long and happy partnership with Chorleywood Cricket Club and Mission EmployAble”

Our Donors

We would like to thank all our donors, charitable trusts and foundations, who share our vision and who help in various ways.

Without your support the essential work that we do would simply not be possible.

We also thank all those who contribute through our 'Virgin Money Giving' platform. From £3 donations to £5,000, every single pound helps us in our aim to get young adults with learning disabilities into employment.