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!

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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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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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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Tools For Life

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

Tools For Life is our mentoring programme. It pairs mentors and trainees who then work together on projects that benefit local communities. We believe that the most powerful thing the programme gives trainees is confidence – confidence in themselves, and a positive relationship with their community again.

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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.

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

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Nailing It!

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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.

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Fork In The Road – past project

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

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.

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Lisa and the kitchen trailer all set up!

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.

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Welcome Ramps – past project

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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