For decades, Aonghus has been a pioneer in the provision of high-quality and fulfilling educational environments drawn from the inspiration of Rudolf Steiner, John Ruskin and William Morris for people with disabilities, driven by his vision to afford all people the opportunity and skills to shape their own future.  

Founded in 1981, the Ruskin Mill Trust is now one of the UK’s leading educational charities working with learning disabilities, with twelve centres across England, Wales and Scotland and its fundraising department raising £40m since 2003 for specialist educational services. 

Aonghus is also the founding trustee of the Ruskin Mill Land Trust, which has been acquiring and restoring redundant industrial buildings, transforming them in partnership with the Ruskin Mill Trust into educational and cultural centres for special needs education, arts, festivals, and social enterprise.

As well as being a Trustee and Board Member of numerous charities, Aonghus was awarded Social Entrepreneur of the Year for the south of England by Ernst and Young in 2005. He has also nurtured many international partnerships, including the development of a Master’s degree in collaboration with Lillehammer Inland University, Norway.

Aonghus said: 

I am very grateful for this recognition of the Trust’s exceptional work over the past thirty years. Our team at Ruskin Mill has worked tirelessly through the most challenging of circumstances, and their dedication to the young people in our care and each other has been unparalleled. They go above and beyond every single day to support our communities, and I could not be prouder of them.” 

“I hope that this honour will lead to a greater awareness of Ruskin Mill’s innovative method, Practical Skills Therapeutic Education, and the positive impact it has been shown to have on many of those with learning disabilities who have attended one of our twelve Centres.”   

Today’s announcement marks the beginning of an exciting year for the Trust, with plans to launch the Ruskin Mill Trust new master’s programme in partnership with the University of Huddersfield in early 2022. 

The photograph shows Aonghus training a group of teachers and therapists in Shanghai, China