Comment: Sad day for city as unique service axed

Have your say

It is a sad day for all those connected to the Engine Shed today.

The news that the much-loved social enterprise will finally close its doors next March will certainly be hard to take.

Last year, we celebrated a stay of execution which followed a 10,000 name petition being handed to Edinburgh City Council.

We highlighted the unique service provided at the St Leonard’s facility and the lives it had changed.

A one-size-fits-all approach, while undoubtedly saving money, could also see people slip through the net.

The sort of people who have been helped at the ­Engine Shed for the past 25 years are most at risk.

It had a tremendous track record of providing disabled people with the skills and confidence to overcome barriers and really help shape their future.

They were able to work in a real environment as part of a team making real things. Many went on to get jobs afterwards.

Sadly, while a tremendous effort saved the service from closure last year, today there seems to be little room for optimism that it will continue at least in its current form.

It is now a case of winding down operations and helping the last few trainees complete their ­placements.

We await details of the new ­services which will be run in its place and the city council can ­expect them to be put under huge scrutiny by this newspaper and by opposition councillors.

The loss of the Engine Shed is an incredibly sad day for Edinburgh and the Lothians, coming as it does on the back of the closures of Blindcraft and Remploy.

In tough economic times, tough decisions have to be made.

The Engine Shed has been a victim but everyone involved can be proud of their achievements over the years.

While it may only exist for another six months, people throughout the city and beyond will be ­forever grateful it was there at all.