Tomorrow's People starts inquiry into treatment of clients who worked as river pageant stewards

Charity's clients given unpaid placements with security firm Close Protection UK say they had to sleep under London Bridge and had no access to toilets for 24 hours

Diamond jubilee pageant
Diamond jubilee pageant

An employment charity that provided unpaid workers for the diamond jubilee celebrations is carrying out an urgent review of why some of its workers were forced to sleep under London Bridge before starting work as stewards for last Sunday’s river pageant.

Tomorrow’s People, which set up placements at the security company Close Protection UK under the government’s Work Programme, said it would assess the situation after jobseekers and people on apprentice wages were bussed into London to work as unpaid stewards and told to sleep under London Bridge before starting work.

Two jobseekers told The Guardian that they were forced to camp under London Bridge overnight, had to change into security gear in public and had no access to toilets for 24 hours.

Abi Levitt, director of development services at the charity, described the incident as "totally unacceptable".

She said: "We are very concerned at CPUK’s lack of care for our clients and lack of attention to their safety and wellbeing. We are urgently reviewing our involvement with CPUK.

"With regard to the specific incident, we have been told by CPUK that there was a timing error that meant the coaches transporting clients from the south west arrived in central London two hours early – at 3am rather than 5am.

"The coach company insisted that participants disembark and there was no one present from CPUK to deal with the volunteers until they arrived at 5am as arranged. Until then there was no shelter and no toilet facilities."

Tomorrow’s People, which was set up in 1984, connects jobseekers with employers and government programmes.

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