Last week, on my own blog, I said I had sought a briefing from council officers on the proposals. I have done that. Next, I consider the leader of Economic Development, Cllr Frank Ross, needs to make a personal visit to the Engine Shed. I have corresponded with him:
I have listened to and questioned the officers. I have looked at the draft report. I have spoken to Marian MacDonald the Engine Shed's Chief Exec
It is not as simple as moving to a ‘pure supported employment' model from an 'employment pathway'. The Engine Shed involves training (time limited) which is very focused on taking people into employment in which they will remain for a lengthy period. Changing is not a simple matter – especially bearing in mind the Engine Shed brand, loyalty and success which has been built up over a long period.
I believe it is essential that you see and hear of the Engine Shed enterprise business model and operation first hand and I urge you to pay a visit as soon as possible to shape the direction of the report. It is a business and I am not sure how the proposals in the report will satisfactorily replace the loss of valuable expertise and service to the community for young people with learning difficulties.
I appreciate there are complex issues and the goals the Council is seeking to achieve have merit. However I look forward to continuing our discussion and search for a satisfactory solution. For me, the closure of the Engine Shed is not a realistic option.