Edinburgh Tool Library
The story of the Edinburgh Tool Library began in the summer of 2013 after Chris Hellawell (founder) heard of a similar venture in Toronto. Interested in starting his own Tool Library, arrangements were made for Chris to visit the Toronto Tool Library the following October.
During Chris’ visit to TTL he learned how everything worked, what challenges he could expect and also about the scale of difference having access to a tool library could make in an individual’s life.
At the TTL shop Chris met a young man who was homeless, living on friends’ sofas, and skint. The man had gotten himself a job as a roofer and was starting the following Monday. What he didn’t have was tools or money, meaning he needed to get his hands on a hammer, Stanley knife, and tool belt to be able to do the job. TTL allowed him to borrow what he needed, setting him up as a temporary member. Once he had earned a wage, he could join as a full member. The difference this made to this man was huge, and it was then that Chris was convinced he wanted to make the same thing happen in Edinburgh.
Since then, Edinburgh tool Library has built up their tool inventory through donations and ramped up public interest in the idea. Finally, on March 7th, 2015, the UK’s first tool library opened in an old police box on Leith Walk.
ETL now has about a dozen volunteers, over 500 tools, 80 members, and have lent out over 150 tools! Now, the next step is to provide opportunities for young unemployed people who are interested in working in the trades industry. ETL wants to do this by providing support and mentorship in a workshop environment. The young ‘trainees’ will learn about tools, maintenance, cataloguing, customer service and will demonstrate tools to our members, under the supervision of retired trades people or ‘mentors’.
We are working with Generations Working Together to develop this side of the project, and are looking to secure funding to develop the idea further, giving our members space to learn, collaborate and utilise; helping our trainees discover and develop skills; and showing our mentors that our community values their knowledge and experience.
More information on the tool rental process can be found on the Edinburgh tool Library website
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