Projects History

In 2002 Columcille secured funding from Garvald Trust to develop work experience projects, in response to the recommendations in the  “Same As You” Government White Paper. The projects that we set up were Edinburgh Activity and Leisure Library, Columcille Ceilidh Band, Music for ALL and a gardening group working at the Botanic Gardens and then as a Community Gardens Group. All projects enabled meaningful work experience, partnership and cooperative working with other organisations and provided valuable resources.

Edinburgh ALL (Activity and Leisure Library)

Edinburgh ALL opened in the spring of 2003, using the main hall at Columcille, on Tuesday afternoons. We purchased a good range of equipment with funding from charitable trusts – Garvald Trust, Agnes H Hunter Trust and Lloyds TSB Foundation. We were keen to move to a more integrated community venue and in late 2003 we were fortunate to move to McDonald Road Library in Leith. We opened each Tuesday morning enabling work experience for 6 people, 3 from Columcille and 3 from Pefferbank Day Centre. The project provided a library loan resource of arts and crafts items, musical instruments, games, books, sensory kit etc.  Additional activities were Borders College accreditation for work experience trainees, setting up of the very successful Music for ALL programme, inspired by and in partnership with Drummond Adult Education., and a Music and Literacy Course, with CLAN Edinburgh. We also ran some arts and crafts sessions and ceilidh workshops with Columcille Ceilidh Band. The last project set up was The Library Guide Project, in partnership with McDonald Road Library, Skillspath, and Edinburgh ALL. This project has continued, enabling training for young people with learning disabilities to work as volunteer library guides both for people with disabilities and members of the general public

In 2012 we made the decision to close Edinburgh ALL as the lending resource was underused. we chose to focus our time on Music for ALL which had extended to 5 courses in Edinburgh and a 6th course planned for Midlothian. We were sorry to close the project but are aware of the great value of the work experience and the many activities and opportunities enabled over the years.

We are very appreciative of the support and enthusiasm of the library staff at McDonald Road and at CEC Library Service and the charitable trusts who funded our work.

Working at the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh nursery garden 2004-2009

We worked at the RBGE for 5 years, as a group of 5 trainee gardeners plus a group leader. We worked one day a week with a break in the winter months. The project enabled very valuable work experience, with learning about a wide and wonderful range of horticultural skills and learning about working in a team with high output and structured working. We were made welcome and will always value the experience gained here.

Community Gardens Project

After 5 years at the RBGE we moved on to form our own community gardening project and were in the early wave of the creation of community gardens in Edinburgh. This was again a valuable and inspiring experience for our group of gardeners, led by Kerry Kirkwall. We worked in the following gardens:

Greendykes Allotment and Community Garden

Royal Edinburgh Community Garden.

Drylaw and Telford Community Gardens.

Hailesland Park, Westerhailes Community Growing Space.

Gilmerton Community Garden

Ashbrook Salvation Army house.

We were involved in filming by Beechgrove Garden, at the Royal Edinburgh Community Garden. We helped build and plant a pagoda garden at the Gardening Scotland Show. Kerry and Alison gave a presentation of our work at the Trellis National Conference in March 2011.

We worked at times on an income earning gardening project in Juniper Green, and helped out in the garden at Columcille.

A group decision was made to cease the community based work and focus our time on the new garden share project that was created between Columcille and the neighbouring tenement garden. While this is a worthwhile, much enjoyed and easily managed project, and more economical for Columcille, we do at times miss the buzz of being out in different community gardens and working on a wider network. We will always value the experiences we had.

Columcille Ceilidh Band ran for 14 years as a work experience band. In that time we played for 384  events. The band enabled up to 4 musicians with learning disability to play music for many wonderful events. We appreciate the people we met, the places we played and the wider horizon enabled. Please click here to see a list of event. Columcille Ceilidh Band Events 2003-2017. The band is still available for bookings.

Music for ALL started in 2003 as a partnership project with Drummond High School Community Education programme. We started with one group running alongside our library project at McDonald Road Library and as each course reached capacity we set up another. We continue on with 6 courses each week and the new Music for ALL BAND Coracle. There are up to 125 people from 32 different organisations/projects participating in Music for ALL  – please see the pages on this website for ore information.