Happy New Year! As 2020 begins, we look back on a fantastic six months. Before we jump in with an update, the team at Edinburgh Forge would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Vegware for continuing to help enable our community project.

The biggest step forward for our team this year was a re-focus on major deliverables to our community, including:

1. To provide a fully inclusive workshop facility to low-income members of the community.

2. To promote our reuse/repurpose/recycle mindset through skillshare, workshops and instruction. 

3. To pass on employable skills and experience while enabling people to become independent makers.

We’ve been successful! Four longterm members have launched small side businesses monetising skills learned and developed at the Forge. 

We have an array of workshop instructors lined up for 2020 with more promised to follow. With everything from gadget dissection to pen-making, to tongue drum welding and bowl turning. 

Other local groups have also been taking notice of our projects. We’ve developed relationships with the Hacklab, Three Hare’s Woodland and Extinction Rebellion, all bringing new blood and fresh ideas to our workshop. 

Our fantastic volunteers have converted this surge of interest into new member sign-ups: We recently reached an all-time high of 70 members, well exceeding our target of 60 members by end of 2019 and putting us on track to meet our September 2020 target of 100 members.

Due to the additional traffic at our site, we had to expand beyond our three shipping containers. We acquired some sheds from Underbelly, rescuing them from landfill and giving new life to them as an additional workshop at the Forge.

We utilised our social media and SEO presence to drive crowd-sourced fundraising to further improve the repurposed underbelly sheds. We promptly met our goal of raising £990 in order to secure the structure (under guidance of a retired structural engineer and H&S specialist) and fit out with member-designed dust extraction and additional for more tools. We also overhauled our machine maintenance and upkeep schedule to ensure our tools are as safe as possible.

In November we were contacted by a local carpenter in Leith who, due to poor health, was looking to sell up and move away from his workshop. After consulting the wider membership, we opted to use our pooled community funds to purchase a job lot of machinery, tools and wood to further expand the quality, range and materials we offer to the local community.

Our members have certainly seen the benefit, producing more high-quality work than ever, enabling them to take on new projects.

It’s not all good news, though, as long time director Rosa has decided to pursue her passion for political activism and move away from a leading role at the Forge. We wish her well in the future. In order to improve our ability to carry out work we contacted our membership and have secured three new volunteers to help us properly supervise and upkeep the Forge workshops, taking on operations roles and allowing us to focus our time on further progression. 

As 2020 unfolds we hope to offer a richer variety of courses and workshops and seek to secure larger funding to enable us to find a permanent home in the city. This is seen as important to our further development as it allows us to be more accessible to disabled members, to invest in permanent fixtures, to be taken more seriously as a source of practical education and to hold a wider appeal to those curious to make more, and consume less. 

We hope this update gave you a better insight into what your support has made possible. From the director team, the volunteers and all our members – Thank you.