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The Engine Shed is now closed. We have left these original pages of the website as a record of our work.

Our History

Our Roots

The Engine Shed developed from the work of the Garvald Centre in Edinburgh, a community based on the principles of Rudolf Steiner, which provides a supportive living and working environment for people with learning disabilities.   Back in the late 1980's, trustees and staff of Garvald Centre felt there was a need for a more training and work oriented project to help young people achieve greater economic and social independence.  To cut a long story short, Garvald Centre secured a three year funding package to develop the idea, and employed a development worker and part-time administrator to get it going.  Their task was to set up a 'sister' organisation, focussed on training and employment, which would become a separate company and fully independent of Garvald Centre.

Finding a Home

The first task for the new staff was to identify suitable accommodation for the project and this came in the shape of an old 'Engine Shed'.  Built in the 1830's for repairing and maintaining trains, the building was then owned by Lothian Regional Council and had been derelict for years.  The Regional Council renovated the building on behalf of the project and, partly thanks to the excellent architects, it was completed to a very high standard.  The finished building included a fully equipped kitchen and café, bakery workshop, offices and meeting rooms.  Over the decades since then we have updated and added to these facilities but in all essentials it has remained the same.

The Engine Shed is a striking building which has helped create a unique identity for the organisation. Although our formal name is Garvald Community Enterprises, everyone knows and refers to us simply as 'The Engine Shed'.