For three days in December, we turned Little Sandbox into Santa’s Workshop. We invited people form the local community to take part in gift making, and we put a call out for elves to come along and learn some making activity in order to help us make lots of gifts that we could donate to local kids in need.

We spoke to local councillors and community organisations and asked their advice on how best to reach young people in need and we identified two ways to reach families: firstly through Croxteth Gems – a community centre which runs the 12 Days of Christmas Appeal, collecting toys, food hampers and more, to help support hundreds of local families at Christmas time. Secondly, through the North Liverpool Food Bank, with the headquarters being nearby in Clubmoor we knew our gifts would reach kids local to us in Norris Green Library.

Over the 3 days, we had 11 visitors to the space. They learned about using the vinyl cutter and heat press to print T-shirts, they saw what the laser cutter can do and they thought about design and packaging. By the end of the 3 days they have collectively made:

  • 14 Jigbots
  • 5 Jigsaws
  • 4 pentominoes sets
  • 5 Roboblock sets
  • 5 Tesselizard sets
  • 18 T-shirts
  • 4 Building Bits sets

We were thrilled that people came to help out and went away having learned something new, as well as doing something to help others.

Making gifts is just the beginning. There are lots of ways maker spaces can support people with tight budgets, whether it’s by using our equipment to make new items or fix broken ones. We’re looking forward to working more closely with the local community next year.

Here’s a little taster of what happened: