SUPPORTERS of the under-threat Engine Shed have taken part in a sponsored walk to help raise awareness of their funding crisis.
Around 50 walkers took part in the event, which saw participants of all ages walking from The Engine Shed on St Leonards Street, through Holyrood Park to St Margaret’s Loch.
The walk raised more than £1000 for the Lothian Special Olympics, which provides sporting opportunities for people with learning disabilities.
Organisers also hoped the event would raise further awareness of the funding crisis being faced by The Engine Shed, which provides training and support for young people with learning disabilities, some of whom will be taking part in the Lothian Special Olympics.
Engine Shed chief executive Marian MacDonald said: “We do a sponsored walk once every couple of years and this time we really wanted to help out the Lothian Special Olympics, as it’s a fantastic organisation.
“We’re trying to keep The Engine Shed in the public eye over the summer as we have a big decision pending in September over funding.”
The Engine Shed, which has been running for 25 years and has aided hundreds of vulnerable young people during that time, will find out next month whether it will lose £211,200 of annual funding from the city council.
The proposed cut sparked outrage across the city, with a petition opposing it gathering more than 8600 signatures and Edinburgh crime author Ian Rankin, a long time supporter of the project, also calling for the officials to reconsider.
One person hoping the council backs down is Hibs community manager Sue McLernon, whose daughter Danielle has learned valuable skills in her time at The Engine Shed.
Sue, 50, who lives in Leith, said: “Two years ago Danielle couldn’t even get on the bus by herself. Now she’s up and out the house before me and that’s because she has somewhere like The Engine Shed to go. It’s not just about learning employment skills, it’s also about being social. We’re fighting for this funding not just for the kids who use the service now, but for all those who will in future.”
And Danielle, 21, certainly doesn’t want to see her home from home crippled by lack of funds, saying: “I want to save The Shed, I don’t want it to close down.”
The walkers were also joined by students from Edinburgh University.
Roisin McKelvey, 24, who is studying European politics, said: “This is something a lot of students feel very strongly about – The Engine Shed provides a vital service.”