Charitable Programmes

We have our regular library and workshop services for our members, but what else do we do for our community, and Edinburgh as a city? Read on!

Making with Pride

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We have partnered with LGBT Health and Wellbeing to provide a series of courses and community builds for the LGBTQIA+ community, and after a very successful pilot session this October and November 2023, Making With Pride is now up and running!

Check out what we have planned for 2024, and how you can get involved.

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Tools For Life

One of our teams working on overhauling a bench for a church group

Tools for Life is ETL’s three month long mentorship programme that teaches young people (16+) who face barriers to employment with the basic and fundamental skills of woodworking and DIY.

The aim of this personal programme is to empower the participants and boost their confidence while gaining new life skills, experience and exposure to opportunities in community building projects.

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Community Outreach

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We love using the magic of making together to break down any potential barriers of gender, race, age, ability, means or experience to all that ETL has to offer. If you believe in this magic too, read more about becoming a community partner.

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Tooligan initiatives

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The ETL community is amazing! We are partnering with tool library members and volunteers to run initiatives for folks who needs us the most. We have projects to help people insulate their homes, reduce energy costs, repair household items.

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Makers in Residence

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A clock made by Becka Subido, a former MIR who has now started a carpentry business.

We love sharing tools and space too! So we’re offering 24h access to our workshops to early-stage makers (from needleworkers to upholsterers, carpenters to artists) in exchange for a set number of hours spent leading workshops and community builds! Deal?

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Women’s Woodshop

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Our Women’s Woodshop is a drop in session (like the Open Workshop) specifically for women and non-binary makers. It happens the every second and fourth Friday of each month. We started this session after we noticed that, although our membership is pretty much evenly divided in terms of gender, there were mostly men using the workshops. We believe this is down to the lack of availability of woodwork classes at school to a generation of women, so we are looking to redress the balance.

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Little Free Libraries

Little Free Library

In response to growing demand, we have set up a wee production line where we hope to service Edinburgh’s Little Free Library needs. Not surprisingly, we love the Little Free Library concept! We’ve already contributed some that you may have seen popping up around the streets of Edinburgh, but we want as many of them as possible. Read more about why we love them and how we could build one for your local area!

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Volunteer Assembly

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Meet Dorothy the mascot of our Volunteer Assembly programme

When tools, volunteers, a workshop, and a great idea get together, we can make some amazing things. The Volunteer Assembly programme provides an opportunity for community groups, neighbourhoods, and charities to present their idea for a project that will benefit them or the people they serve.

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Past projects

If you are interested to hear more about any of these particular past projects, please reach out. We’ve ran through successes and failures and will continue do so as it gets us to understand how best we can contribute to our local community and our planet.

Past projects:

Nailing it!: introducing woodwork to small groups of women as a way to build confidence while learning new skills

Book Libraries Partnership : borrowing books… and tools at public libraries

Easy Sharing : Delivery tools to community pick-up points in North and West Edinburgh

Young Tooligans : giving young people the tools and skills to work around climate change issues and how to think creatively to find solutions

Welcome Ramps : making Leith businesses more accessible

Fork In The Road : designing and touring a mobile kitchen unit

Nailing It! 2019- 2022

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Nailing It! was a project funded by the Volant Trust that introduces small cohorts of women to woodworking as a way to build confidence while learning new skills. It worked through a referral system in partnership with women’s charities and takes place over 8 weeks.

Participants were taught by female tutors, and spend 5 weeks on their own project before taking on a community build for the charity that referred them. It all culminated in an exhibition of their work and a celebration with friends and family.

Welcome Ramps – 2018-2019

Storries Bakery now has a ramp to make it more accessible
One of our new Welcome Ramps at Storries Bakery in Leith.

The Tool Library has been busy making accessibility ramps as part of a project with the disabled access review website Euan’s Guide.

The programme enabled local businesses to order a bespoke, removable ramp, which helps businesses become more accessible for wheelchair users, families with buggies, delivery people, and anyone who struggles with steps. For this reason we have called them ‘Welcome Ramps’. If your business was in Leith, you could have got yours for free!

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Easy Sharing – 2018-2019

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Eddie Van Haulin ready to be delivering tools!

Easy Sharing was a collaboration between the Edinburgh Tool Library, myTurn (worldwide software for libraries of things), and i-PuK (collaborative platforms for climate-friendly communities) and is also in partnership with WHALE Arts, the Broomhouse Centre, North Edinburgh Arts, granton:hub, and University of Edinburgh Living Lab.

At the heart of the project was a six-month pilot service to deliver tools to pick-up points at the four West-Edinburgh community partners. Easy Sharing users reserved items from the library catalogue and designated their preferred pick-up location. We were delivering the tools to these pick-up points on particular days with Eddie Van Haulin’, our electric van (still part of the team!).

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Young Tooligans – 2018-2019

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Chairs of the future designed by pupils at George Harriot’s School

The Young Tooligans Programme was split into two sections – Schools and Youth
Organisations, each with a distinctly different approach.

  • In schools (Portobello High School, Broughton High School, Trinity Academy, George Harriot’s School) we explored design thinking, the circular economy, carbon literacy, climate change and team building with a design challenge ‘Chair of the future!’
  • In youth organisations we worked with a more open approach, collaborating with the organisation in developing a workshop which allowed the young people to come together to build something useful for their centre or community.
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Fork In The Road – 2017-2020

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Morvern sharing recipe tips at the Mobile Kitchen Trailer inauguration in December 2017.

Fork in the Road (FITR) was an innovative partnership with artist Morvern Odling.

A collaboration between Morvern Odling, Yannick Roels, and Suraia Abud led to the creation in 2015 of mobile kitchen units that were towed by bicycles. The kitchens’ mobility meant that they could easily turn up at different community spaces, with the purpose of engaging people in their environment through meals, workshops, and culinary bicycling adventures.

New versions of the kitchens were co-designed with the ETL community in 2017, and two units roamed the community gardens and growing spaces of Edinburgh over the summers 2018 and 2019. The touring in summer 2020 had to be cancelled.

A book detailing the processes and workshops from the first version of the Fork in the Road tour is available as a free open source download.

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Tool Boxes at Public Libraries – 2017-2018

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Anna (project coordinator) on one of our bright Tool Box one wheels at Piershill Library.

This was a nine-month pilot service to offer the possibility for Edinburgh residents to borrow tools when they come to borrow books at their local book libraries. We had 3 Tool Boxes filled up with the most commonly borrowed tools stored at Piershill Library, Portobello Library, and Craigmillar Library.

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