2007 - 2022

Practical Radical

Last Sunday TedX Portobello, organised by the magnificent TribePorty [a social enterprise for making things happen] curated a series of speakers called FindUsHere. We were inspired by the participants to create a new column showcasing ‘practical radical’ ideas. Suggest your own to us. Here’s three to get us going:

Edinburgh-Tool-LibraryTool Library
A bright challenge to rampant confusing and wasteful hyper-consumerism, the Tool Library’s message  is practical:  “If it’s broke, go fix it. If it needs to be made, go make it.” The idea is so simple its clever: you don’t need all this stuff. You don’t need it and you don’t use it.  The Tool Library tells us the average power drill is used a total of 13 minutes in it’s lifetime.

Run by the inspirational Chris Hellawell the Tool Library is bringing people together, challenging notions of ownership and saving people money.

“Edinburgh Tool Library is the UK’s first tool library, promoting sharing as a way of reducing our environmental impact. We lend our members tools for DIY, gardening, decorating and machine repair, so that they don’t need to own them.” Visit their website here. Follow Chris at @ETLChris

dads-rock-logo-300x300Dads Rock
Thomas Lynch left his job and set up Dads Rock, a playgroup for dads. They now offer free parent counselling, support for young dads and, er, rocking out. Think Jack Black meets Mrs Doubtfire. Their aims are simple: “To support and help Dads to engage with their children and build strong lasting relationships. To advance the arts, specifically music, to encourage self-expression and improve self-esteem in both Dads and their children. To promote equality and diversity by encouraging the social inclusion of Dads in everyday life, with particular focus on issues regarding raising children. To promote the physical, mental and emotional health of Dads. To provide recreational activities for Dads who may be socially isolated or excluded.”

But crucially also to: “Rock out! Be Awesome!”

This isn’t one of these Dads for Justice Spiderman type affairs, Thomas explains “Mums Rock too!” and while he admits that mums do most and don’t have a special project celebrating them, the need to encourage and support dads to be parent well is clear. Dads Rock playgroups are currently in Granton, Sighthill and in April 2013, Fife Gingerbread approached Dads Rock regarding starting Fife’s first dads playgroup, this launched on 1st June 2013.  More here.

Follow Thomas at @Tomcat_Rocks.

13124561_1274282775933425_431109011790112877_nInvisible Edinburgh
Zakia Moulaoui’s talk Invisible People was one of the most moving moments of the day discussing how we become inured to homelessness and people just vanish into the background of the street. Recognising people as people is a simple human notion but one we’ve forgotten in our own manic busyness.

She had been director of the Homeless World Cup project, which brings people together through the Beautiful Game.

Arguing that “People are the best thing that can happen to anyone” she described her project  Invisible Edinburgh, which helps homeless people become tour guides of their own city. It’s a simple empowering idea. There are four guides at the moment, with more planned for September. The themes are powerful women of Edinburgh, crimes and punishment, community sport and food and charity. Each tour costs £8.

Moulaoui got her inspiration from a project in Greece where street vendors take people on walks. More details here.

Follow her at @zakmoulaoui


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Comments (3)

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  1. Craig Miller says:

    I saw a feature once where an american city organised regular evening meals and music , listened to pitches from local go getters interested in starting small businesses with the potential to employ locals , then at the end of the night the demos voted to donate the takings of that night to the best idea …grass roots stuff , political parties wont get us independence , only the tightness of our community . Take it to the streets

  2. Chris Hellawell says:

    It started as Detroit Soup, and has spread all over the world. There is one such event on in Edinburgh tomorrow night, and the Edinburgh Tool Library is one of the charities taking part. Tickets might be available on the door. If you are in the area, check it out.

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