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!
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.
Little Free Libraries
In response to a growing demand, we have set up a little production line where we hope to service Edinburgh’s Little Free Library needs. Not surprisingly, we love the Little Free Library concept! We’ve contributed already to some you might have seen popping around the streets of Edinburgh but we want to see as many of them as possible. Read more about why and how we could build one for your local area!
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.
Please note we are not reopen yet for these sessions (read more on our reopening schedule).
Tools For Life
One of the things that we’re proudest of here at the Library is our Tools for Life (TFL) Programme.
The programme provides expert advice, practical workshops, and employment support to young trainees who are currently facing barriers to employment. It pairs mentors and trainees who then work together on projects that benefit local communities.
Mentoring is a proven way to pass on trade skills and knowledge. Our mentors are usually (but not exclusively) from a trades background, and have skills to pass on as well as time to give. The programme is designed to enrich the lives of everyone who participates, and we often find that the mentors get as much, if not more, out of the experience as the trainees.
As well as budding joiners receiving training in trade skills, the programme gives young people the chance to develop transferable skills including learning how to be part of a team, time management, and project planning. It also gives them the opportunity to connect to a network of tradespeople with community members and improve the trainees’ long-term employment prospects.
We believe that the most powerful thing the programme gives trainees is confidence – confidence in themselves, and a positive relationship with their community again. It allows them to feel better about themselves and their place in the world, and overcome challenges they face every day.
“It’s good to feel part of your community, help that community, and meet lots of interesting people.”Tools for Life participant
We encourage trainees to continue to be part of the Edinburgh Tool Library as they spread their wings and to return as members or volunteers. For many, the Tools for Life programme is just the start of a journey towards employment.
This project currently has no external funding, and is paid for by ETL. We would love to help more young people, so if someone you know can help with sponsorship, a donation, or by volunteering, please get in touch. Your help will help us help a young person.
We also have an ongoing recruiting cycle for both mentors and trainees. If you are interested in either, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Makers in Residence
As an organisation that creates opportunities for young people, we have a limited number of opportunities for Makers in Residence. We give free workshop access to a variety of young makers, from needleworkers to upholsterers, carpenters to artists, in exchange for a set number of hours spent leading workshops. If you are interested in finding out more about how this works, please get in touch via email@example.com
Nailing It! is 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 works through a referral system in partnership with women’s charities and takes place over 8 weeks.
Participants are 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 culminates in an exhibition of their work and a celebration with friends and family.
Fork In The Road – past project
Fork in the Road (FITR) was born from a collaboration between the Edinburgh Tool Library and artist Morvern Odling. It was a creative research project that explores the relationships between community and food, re-imagining where kitchens can be found in Edinburgh.
The project came to life in Madrid in 2015, where Morvern Odling, Yannick Roels, and Suraia Abud came together at Interactivos, a design futures event held at the Medialab-Prado.
Their collaboration led to the creation of mobile kitchen units that are 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, and two units roamed the community gardens and growing spaces of Edinburgh.
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, or you can order a physical copy for your community group for £5 plus p&p.
This project is an example of the kind of innovative partnerships that the Tool Library seeks to establish in order to help build the sustainable communities of the future.
FITR was generously supported by the National Lottery Awards for All fund.
Welcome Ramps – past project
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!