St Mary’s Cathedral Workshop
The Edinburgh Local Community Grants Scheme at the University of Edinburgh is proud to support organisations who are making a great impact in the city and surrounding areas.
We caught up with Maggie Tennant at St Mary’s Cathedral Workshop to find out more about the great work they’re doing and what the University funding is doing to help their work.
Tell us about your organisation.
We are a stonemasonry apprenticeship scheme employing 16-24 year olds in the Edinburgh area, focusing on those from disadvantaged backgrounds or those who may have a barrier to learning or who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to engage in any sort of employment or training.
Primarily what we hope and want to achieve is that our young people come to us, share their time between us and College and at the end of their time with us, qualify with an SVQ Level 7 in Stonemasonry and go on to get and keep great jobs in the sector.
How has support from the University helped your organisation?
We are noticing increasing numbers of young people who come to us with pre-existing mental health issues — mostly depression and anxiety. We are doing our best to help these young apprentices through their mental issues, and felt as though we needed the correct tools and skills to support these young people as best as we can.
The funding from The University of Edinburgh is enabling our Management team to be professionally trained in Mental Health First Aid, so that we can add an extra layer of support to these young people, helping them to help us achieve the aim of increasing numbers of qualified stonemasons in Edinburgh to protect this heritage site for the future.
It's encouraging to have the recognition from The University of the work that we do here.
How is your organisation benefiting people in the local area?
Our young apprentices come from primarily the Edinburgh area, but some from East Lothian and also West Lothian and are aged 18 to 23 at present, some from difficult or care-experienced backgrounds.
There is no other stonemasonry apprenticeship programme available in Edinburgh, and lots of stone! So we fill a crucial role in the community, up-skilling the future stonemasons of the city, who throughout their time with us, and in their careers as stonemasons will help to restore lots of Edinburgh’s old iconic architecture.
What are the next steps for your workshop?
In these times of financial difficulty we are still hoping to secure future funding through other charitable trusts, which is becoming more and more difficult, through our shared apprenticeship scheme and from public heritage bodies.