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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 Philosophy

The Engine Shed's approach is very practical but has a strong underlying philosophy based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner.

  • It is a philosophy that sees each of us as unique and believes everyone should have the opportunity to realise their potential, no matter what their ability or disability.  We try to provide a space for everyone to shine.
  • We see work as very important.  Everyone needs a purpose in their life and that's what comes across very strongly at the Engine Shed.  We help young people to grow up, take on adult responsibilities as far as possible and make their contribution to society.  Work also provides a helpful routine and structure to the day.
  • We build into our day to day work the sense of being valued and appreciated by others. Our customers, particularly the café regulars, are very much part of that as they see the young people grow and develop in front of their eyes and enjoy following their progress.
  • It is important for everyone, regardless of ability, to work to their maximum ability, and to provide as high quality service/product as they possibly can.  All of us at the Engine Shed take great pride in our products.
  • Part of the Steiner philosophy is about recognising the importance of rhythm and balance in life.  This includes the rhythm of work and leisure, weekday and weekend, regular working routines and holiday periods, but also the seasons and festivals.  We celebrate these in our work but also through outings and events with the trainees that they help to plan.
  • Relationships and friendships are also very important and we encourage trainees to organise their own activities.  Young people are with us for three years and many of the friendships they make here are life-long.

The Engine Shed has a very particular atmosphere, which we feel is the result of this philosophy which links the practical to the personal and social.