Mobile apps bring employment to Hackney residents

Mobile apps bring employment to Hackney residents

HACKNEY Council is supporting local people with learning disabilities into employment, thanks to a ground breaking project creating maps for mobile phones. 

Through the PhotoRoute London maps project the Council has been supporting people with learning disabilities to use their skills and experience in getting around safely by creating maps that show safe, convenient access for everyone.

 So far, seven people aged 19 to 50 with learning disabilities who have been long term unemployed have been trained to produce accessible maps, and as a result three have already secured paid employment as mapping consultants from organisations in Hackney and London.

The PhotoRoute London maps, are a mobile phone app for android and iphone devices. The digital mapping technology enables users to access online or download completely walker-friendly maps of London. The routes are designed to be step-free and accessible to people with physical or learning disabilities and parents with pushchairs or young children.

Training is tailored to suit each person and their preferred learning style and typically takes about three months. The students learn how to apply their own skills and experience to choosing the best and safest routes, including step free options, photography skills and how to use the user friendly IT software to create and download the maps.

It is expected that as the demand for the maps grows so will the opportunities for employment. The Council will continue to support their employment, either as sessional workers or work with them to develop other career options. 

Cllr Jonathan McShane, Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture said: “Giving our residents employment opportunities is one of the Council’spriorities. I'm delighted we've been able to use this exciting project to getpeople into work. We hope these maps will encourage more people, including visitors from further a field to explore the many attractions Hackney has to offer.”

Ms. Kehinde Ogundeji, aged 41 from Hackney Central completed her training and as a result is helping produce a new map linking Hackney to a heritage trail. She said “Yes, I enjoy it. It is a useful skill."

Mrs. Pippin, 22 year old Andrew’s mum, said: "I'm very happy with it, Andrew is accompanied out taking photographs and making maps. I think it's a good thing for him." Andrew helped make the Council’s Hackney Museum and library map, and he is also working on an East End Heritage Trail map.

Maps will be available for all residents on Council's website as well as others including the Victoria & Albert Museum and Greater London Authority.

The PhotoRoute London maps project is a partnership between the Council’s Hackney One Team and Enabled City/Photo Routes. Hackney One Team is a key part of the Council's new approach to promoting independence, supporting people to reach their full potential in life, including through work opportunities.

To view the maps, which will soon be available on Hackney Council’s website visit;   

 To find out about adult social care in Hackney or supported employment for people with learning disabilities in Hackney contact Simon Thorne, Development Manager, Hackney Council's Hackney One Team on or 020 8356 7518, or visit

For more information about the maps visit