Our Story

At its inception, The Taylor McCabe Institute (TMI) was set up to be a residential school dedicated to the development of all individuals that are interested in a learning ethos outside of mainstream education.

The idea was to bring people with diverse skill sets under one roof and have them play the role of both student and teacher. The courses would last from two weeks to two months. They would focus on both personal and physical development, practical and theoretical lectures as well as an in-depth study of how to be happier and wiser in life.

While this remains our vision, the war in Ukraine triggered a slight twist. 


taylor maccabe institute logo

Meet The Team

Tristram Shackerley-Bennett

Founding Director of TMI. After 30 years in the Arts sector, his focus is now on the long-term development of an institution that will support Ukrainian refugees. Tristram is pouring all his time, energy and personal resources into Shelter for Ukraine and has relocated for the last 6 months in Slovakia until phase 1 of the project is achieved.

Tamara Jones

Co-Director of the Taylor McCabe Institute. With a career in the Arts, psychology and special education, her input is instrumental in developing an educational support framework for the Ukrainian children coming in. In her "spare time" Tamara is also our main fundraiser by running the Inflatable Church across England. 

Norman Hendy

Our project manager - with over 30 years experience in the construction industry all across Europe, Norman is gifting us his time right after completing a skyscraper in the Netherlands. He is dedicating his summer 2022 to the completion of the first phase of Shelter For Ukraine.

Juraj shelter for ukraine volunteer


Fresh out of High School in Slovakia & getting ready for Uni

Sam shelter for ukraine volunteer


Fresh out of High School & also getting ready for Uni

Peter shelter for ukraine volunteer


Also just done with High School and starting Uni soon

Elliott Blade

Licensee and Producer of TEDx Auckland.

Claire Thiveyrat

Digital Doer, French Tutor, Documentary Producer, Mum

Maybe You?

We're always on the look out for talented people to join our team

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

- Albert Einstein.

How It All Started

"8 years ago I bought two 90 foot long barns, in a small village in Slovakia. I borrowed my mums' life savings to pay for a property, in a country I didn’t know or speak the language of.

If you’ve ever met me and I hope we get the chance, this would not seem like anything particularly abnormal. My impulsive personality has been a gateway to so many adventures in my life and this will hopefully be the most interesting one to date."

On his return to the UK, Tristram posted on Facebook the events that had transpired and asked the universe "what to do" . As ever, the replies were rather unexpected! The consensus amongst his network was that with collective help, he should build the school that he’d always talked about.

"In my teenage years a man by the name of Robert Taylor took me in. He taught me about art, history, philosophy, people and why I was important. Years later, when I asked why he had done this for me, he replied: “because I once lost someone very dear to me and I promised that I would never let that happen to a boy that needed help again”.

When asked what I could do in return for his help, Robert said “help people to feel safe and teach them everything you know”.

For years I pondered how to pay back until I realised I had a large network of specialists who were desperate to fill in their purpose. I dreamt of a school where they could share their knowledge; a university of life. These specialists are now the team behind TMI and together we are working towards something we hope will make a difference in someone's life."

A Little Bit About Slovakia

For those of you who don't know anything about Slovakia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe bordered by Austria, Czech Republic, Ukraine and Hungary, with dramatic landscapes dominated by mountains, valleys and caves that form part of the Western Carpathians.

TMI is located a small village called Nemcinany an hour from Bratislava, the capital. Until the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Slovakia was governed by the Soviet Union and since gaining autonomy, it struggled economically until it joined the EU in May 2004. It then adopted its currency - the Euro in 2009.

Nemcinany - a place of history

Nemcinany has seen many occupations and there are plenty of stories of German shoot-outs, Russian tanks with the TMI buildings being used as an SS stronghold (we have the bullet holes to prove it!).

A FREE school for the local community

This rich history has profoundly affected the local community and although Nemcinany is absolutely stunning, it is a working village - no frills here, it's tough and people in the area struggle financially, so in our discussions with the Starosta (Mayor of the village) we felt compelled to offer TMI as a FREE weekend school for the local children where English would be taught and life in general.

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