Testimonies

Peer to Peer Pilot course 2018

“This has been an invaluable course. Two of the three days have been held so far are the sort of events that you do not want to leave the room in case you miss a valuable piece of advice. As a CEO of a complex development and build, it has been a very good use of my time” (Broomhouse Centre)

“Good to get the inspiration of visiting Out of The Blue and hearing the story of the various enterprises. Good to run our financial plans past those with more experience and know that we are asking the correct questions.” (Kinning Park Complex)

Out of the Blue’s experience and approach

“OOTB, as an organisation being so open about challenges, the details of financial management, of being an organisation balancing social and economic value, for the benefit of other organisations is refreshing when fear of sharing these usually prevails to the detriment of those learning and a little earlier on the journey” (Broomhouse Centre)

“The OOTB team listen to any question or challenge, and we are able to bring tailored questions that do not have to be scripted in advance” (Broomhouse Centre)

“Although I had visited OOTB before it was good to get the full background and very useful to be able to feel comfortable with discussing with others. Able to be very open in an informal setup. No pressure and able to take time out and just talk about where we all were on our journey.” (Oban Communities Trust)

“This is the first time I’ve attended any learning session that worked to accommodate what we needed at “that point in time “ for our project support. “ (Oban Communities Trust)

The impact

“The challenge was valuable, a board member of OOTB presented on how we think about some of our spaces for rent, and he noticed that we were mixing our messages on social mission versus need for income to increase sustainability” (Broomhouse Centre)

“I think these sessions are already influencing our plans for operation.” (Oban Communities Trust)

“ I’ve learned that the consequences of inadequate planning can bite; tools to quantify Social Benefit; having the confidence (and tools) to make your own case (to councils, landlords, funders etc.) and not being hi-jacked by others’ potentially limiting definitions; seeing/hearing how others plan; rooting what we do in our community – focusing development around what we do/want to do with what our community needs and how we can grow that to be the best fit; social enterprise – realising that we can reasonably expect grants etc to cover some of our services while we also explore ways to generate our own income. Realising that arts organisations can be as effectively run, planned, resourced and impactful as any other business” (Room13 International)

Working with Peers

“The opportunity to meet peers, who are equally sharing their planning and approach, is invaluable” (Broomhouse Centre)

“It has been especially valuable to have others’ input to these ..(issues) from experienced and practised viewpoints, otherwise we have been driving ourselves hard to come up with solutions from narrow, tired and stressed places. For me too, the value of feeling connected cannot be overestimated; we operate from a rural, Highlands base, one of a few very small arts organisations in a wide area and this can lead to us feeling remote and disconnected, and our work siloed. Being able to talk about it in a receptive and understanding environment has been restorative – it can be difficult to make time to do this without there always being a business-related outcome to justify it. Making connections is valuable for a number of reasons, not least of which is the knowledge that others are also out there, putting time and energy into making creative spaces in their communities.” (Room 13 International)

Finance and Business Planning

“The rigorous process required to present your plans and cash flows, as part of the peer to peer course has challenged any commercial naivety that might creep into our planning. The business approach has been invaluable to witness. When any of the team, Rob, his board members, staff or accountant shared their thinking, you feel a sense that there are lessons directly applicable” (The Broomhouse Centre)

“(I learned that) the cafe is the hub of the centre and running on breakeven is realistic business goal.” (Oban Communities Trust Director)

“The sessions worked for me as they allowed myself and my colleague to spend time away from our day-to-day considerable issues with legitimate, business-focused thinking and listening. Our lack of robust fundraising planning and a coherent strategy has led to significant difficulties for the charity which we are currently struggling to overcome. It helps enormously to have a new set of tools and thinking to apply to this now.” (Room13 International)

“Looking forward to using the chance to get feedback on the structure of a business plan from session 3. I think specific outcomes from the whole course will be 1) chance to reflect with colleagues 2) more developed business planning as a result of participation 3) greater clarity of purpose” (Kinning Park Complex)

“I went back and talked to Board again to persuade others to attend as I could see that our plans could benefit from learning on structures. I felt if they actually saw the ..[Out of the Blue Drill Hall] and the structure [it] would help me to give them a better understanding on models of delivery.
I managed to get the treasurer to attend. Now looking at different options for trading arms etc.” (Oban Communities Trust)

“Thank you – to you and your OOTB colleagues for your advice, thoughts and hospitality yesterday. You created a supportive environment where we could safely explore many relevant, key topics. Talking with folks who are much further down the road was so insightful and valuable. I will be thinking through the specifics of our conversation more and how we can apply them as we progress. ” (Oban Communities Trust – Board member)

“ I believe I now have a better, wider idea and good tools for assisting with planning for the charity; I also have more confidence in tackling these tasks. So, better input to planning, a better grasp of what I can offer here and a more focused approach to researching; a more effective planner. For Room 13 International: to have robust, thorough and costed plans that accurately reflect our community’s needs and where we can fulfil those needs alongside our own; seeing our ability to generate income develop and for us to feel excited about what we offer. Community and users: I anticipate us making time to ask questions and begin more direct conversations with our users and the wider community. I would hope that we can offer services that excite people and see us being identified as an asset to the area and its residents.
(Room 13 International)

 

Space Hirers

“Thank you for providing such a good space. Both Easter sessions have been a great success.”
Oliver Rl, Teacher of ‘Happy Ears’ Childrens Music Workshop, 5th April 2013

“Thank you to everyone at OOTB who was around on the night [of our event] – everyone was friendly and patient with the young folk. It was a brilliant night “
Grenfell, NHS Lothian, 18th March 2013

“Just wanted to thank [Out of the Blue] for the tremendous service, as ever. There were many compliments yesterday about the venue and the catering “
Ann W, Scottish Government, 27th February 2013

“The space was ideal and all the kids had a whale of a time. Jodie was working in the cafe and, as I said to Chris this morning, she was incredibly helpful and totally unflustered by our random requests on the day.”
– Lindsay I, Birthday Party Organiser, 9th March 2013

“I just wanted to pass on my warm thanks for all [Out of the Blue’s] help and flexibility throughout the project, I really appreciate it. The café staff have also been very helpful and friendly, and I’ve been delighted with the music room as a venue too.”
– Grainne F, Music Therapy, 12th March 2013

“All the kilo staff say how nice of a place it is to work (your team, decor etc – compared to a lot of the other place we go). Apparently the cafe is just as good as when I was there last too!”
– John H, Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale, 6th May 2013

“A huge thanks to [The Out of the Blue] team members in making our staff away day a success. Everyone was really positive about the venue and the food. On the day the kitchen staff could not of been more helpful and worked with me to achieve my requests.”
– Lisa W, Scottish Government, 13th June 2013

“Last night was a great success, we’ve had such positive feedback, so thank you all very much for all your hard work and support in running the event!
Looking forward to working with you all again!”
– Lynsey M, Creative Scotland, 13th August 2013

“The members were commenting on how the Drill Hall has improved a great deal since we started coming there for our meetings and is now a good venue.”
– Ian Robson, Communications Workers Union, 6th September 2013

“Thanks for all your support with the course and we have really enjoyed having the course at OOTB. Hopefully we will have reasons to work with you again in the near future.”
– Nicola G, Arts Coordinator Edinburgh, Crisis.org.uk, 1st April 2014

“Just wanted to say a big thank you for allowing us to exhibit at Out of the Blue. We were all really pleased with the space and amount of people that came to see our work.
Will no doubt recommend your space to fellow photographers and artists in our art school for the future.”
– Charlie M, Edinburgh College of Art, 1st May 2014

“You guys have been amazing!”
– Kirsty S, Infant Massage Edinburgh, November 2014

“I just wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you for hosting the Aerial course last week. It all seemed to go really well and everyone seemed to get a lot out of it.
I look forward to hopefully holding more FST events at Out of the Blue in the future.”
– Kirsty B, Training and Professional Development Officer, Federation of Scottish Theatre

“[The venue was] fab, [will] def[initely] use again, [The OOTB] staff [are] lovely.”
– Lesley A, Development Worker, Cyrenians Communities, March 2015

“Still reliving our wonderful evening at your outstanding venue and just to say thank you so much for everything you did to make it such a success!
I also thought the girls who served the drinks and canapés deserve a special mention for their service with a smile and also Jack who sorted out the techie stuff of which I’m clueless!”
– Paul S Specifications Sales Manager at G.F. Smith, May 2015

“[Our event] went exceedingly well and your staff were fantastic.”
– Linda B, The Scottish Association for Psychodynamic Counselling, July 2015

“Fantastic night, great feedback on all elements including venue, catering & staff – so please pass my thanks & congrats to all the team your end. Thanks again – I do enjoy working with OOTB! ”
– Lynsey M, Events & Internal Communications Officer at Creative Scotland, August 2015

“Thank you for being so accommodating for our GIRFEC- Disabled Children and Young People Advisory group meeting with the Minister last week. It was a pleasure dealing with all the staff, and the mushroom soup was incredible.”
– Louise M, Administration and Finance Officer, Getting it right for every child, Scottish Government, March 2016

“Everything was great on the day – thank you for all your help.”
– Deborah G, Directorate for Children and Families, Scottish Government, March 2016

“We would like to thank you and the staff of Out of the Blue for your excellent service and support. Thank you for all you did to help make our event a huge success. It has been a great pleasure working with you all and we wish you every success for the future.”
– Kostis V & Maro P, Syn Festival Edinburgh, March 2016

“I just wanted to thank you for all of your help in advance of last Saturday. Our event went really well and people were very impressed with the space so we’ll definitely keep Out of the Blue in mind for future events in Edinburgh.”
– Dr Dr Cassandra R, Evidence and Learning Officer, The Robertson Trust, March 2016

“May I say on behalf of the [Scottish Government] PCS group how much we enjoyed the venue and the excellent, friendly service of your staff.”
– Keith B, PCS Saughton Branch Secretary and SG Group Treasurer, June 2016

“I just wanted to thank [OOTB] on behalf of my manager and everyone who attended our meeting yesterday for looking after us so well. The room was laid out perfectly and the lunch was excellent – everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, and our resident vegan (!) was delighted to have been catered for so well.
It is safe to say that The Richmond Fellowship Scotland, Edinburgh Team will be more than happy to continue using your venue for future meetings.
Thank you once again.”
– Maria D, Senior Support Worker, The Richmond Fellowship Scotland, December 2016

“we are great fans of your venue.”
– Cristina C, Intercultural Research Centre, H.W. School of Social Sciences, March 2017

“Out of the Blue has been and continues to be a great environment for our classes. It’s a lovely space, well managed, clean & warm; with accommodating and supportive staff. Not only have we run classes for 10yrs at the venue, we have also put on performance events and shows, with the accessibility and standard of service provided by Out of the Blue always helping everything to run smoothly. Their engagement with both our company and our clients are highly rated and valued”
– Andy G, All or Nothing Aerial, Administrator, All or Nothing Aerial, March 2017

“I hire a room at OOTB for a weekly women’s health class. The women who attend appreciate the care that is taken in the place, that it is in the heart of the community and it’s a friendly, accessible place to use.
For me as a coach it’s great to have a venue which is easy to use, friendly to deal with and obviously is well looked after and valued. I would love to see more venues with this ethos, it would make my work much easier!”
– Elspeth A, March 2017

“As a Community Development worker with Bethany Christian Trust I can say that the people we work with have greatly benefited from the space that OOTB provides. We rented a rehearsal space for our community choir to meet in at a competitive rate. The choir consists of men and women facing challenges in their lives such as; social isolation, addiction issues, unemployment and mental ill-health. Having a space in the community that was welcoming and where the choir could interact and see other people from the community was an important part of the social aspect of our project. Many of those we work with may have been intimidated to enter into a similar space due to the anxiety issues but the space was so safe and the staff so welcoming this was not an issue. I also felt that the OOTB’s purpose as a hub of creative endeavours also allowed choir members to associate themselves with the other artistic activities happening in the building.”
– Colin C, Community Development Worker (East), Bethany Christian Trust, March 2017

“OOTB provides a lively, creative and social setting for the music group. The availability of a cafe is a bonus for group members and their attendants. The venue is bright and accommodating with thoughtful provision for wheelchair users.Having access to a piano and storage for multiple instruments ensures that the music sessions can be varied and engaging. Having a dedicated music room allows the group members to freely explore their music making without being compromised by concerns about disturbing activities outwith the music room.”
– Janice T, Administrator, ECAS, March 2017

“I use the Music Room at Out of the Blue on a Monday morning to run 3 of my very popular Moo Music Sessions. The venue is a great community space – it’s incredibly friendly, always clean & bright.
I love using this venue & all my parents have commented what a lovely atmosphere & how lovely the cafe is.”
– Carmen C, Moo Music Edinburgh Leith, March 2017

“I (we) would like to thank everyone for all your organisation into our away day. We really enjoyed the (half) day. The buffet was excellent”
– Valerie R, Learning Directorate, Scottish Government, April 2017

“Thank you very much to the staff who made the cakes and looked after us, they were lovely. The families had a great time. It’s a super venue – we will be holding a similar event next year, hopefully we can book again with you.”
– Jill H, Study Coordinator, Theirworld Edinburgh Birth Cohort, University of Edinburgh, May 2017

“Thank you for the use of the Cutting Room for our auditions at the weekend, it was perfect for the job.
I also discovered that the café’s maple syrup and bacon toast are to die for!”
– Laura I, “The Legend of Finn McCool” performance, October 2017

“A lovely space and lunch was delicious”
– Morven L, Programme Officer, Community Shares Scotland, May 2019

“Everything went very smoothly. The food was fantastic – everyone was very happy with Chris’s catering.”
– Morgan C, Lecturer in Data & Society, University of Edinburgh, May 2019

 

Studio Artists

“Thanks very much for everything, I’ve really enjoyed being a tenant and I’ll definitely be continuing to pop in for events and the brilliant soup!!”
– Anna B, Cover My Eyes Boutique, March 2014

“We all love being at OOTB and working here so [it] was a total pleasure to do something for the event.”
– Jennifer P, All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre, May 2014

“I’m a little sad to leave and I have only good experience of the space and people that surrounded me. Thank you again for creating such a great working atmosphere.”
– Elena T, April 2015

“I hung on to the studio for so long because I loved working in the building and I think OOTB does an amazing job. Hope you and the rest of the team are all well and will look forward to popping in now and again.”
– Anna P, Fogbank, June 2015

“Thank you and Out of the Blue for being my musical home for the past 6 years!”
– Tomlin L, Strollers Music School, January 2017

“Out of the Blue is our landlord but the relationship is much more than just a tenant/landlord one. As an arts charity working in the healthcare sector, we always get a really good response from the healthcare professionals who visit our art store here at Out of the Blue where they can see that the venue reflects our values as vibrant and welcoming. We have held a number of promotional and fundraising events at Out of the Blue and again we benefit from the profile of the organisation as a venue with a great mix of events and activities. We bring new people to the venue on these occasions but it is undoubtedly the case that OOTB brings our events to the attention of a wider range of people due to their reputation, range of contacts and ability to promote the venue as a great place to visit.”
– Margaret O, Chief Executive, Art In Healthcare, March 2017

“I came to the Drill Hall while working as a freelance journalist struggling to find the space to work from home with two young children underfoot. It not only provided an affordable and welcome refuge to engage with other creatives in an environment with a real sense of community.”
– Rob F, March 2017

“I had been struggling for years to find an affordable dance studio for daily dance practice – Out of the Blue in that respect has been a Godsend and almost a life-saver. Certainly a career saver!
We also use the studio space for music practice and music theory lessons without disturbing anyone. It’s an invaluable space to concentrate in and come up with new ideas.
There has never yet been a day I’ve not felt happy as soon as I walk through the door. The facilities, café area and general layout all contribute to the great feel-good factor and for so many people working independently, it provides the benefits from contact with other workers you might otherwise miss.
In a word: Wonderful!”
– Adela L, Fab Flamenco, March 2017

“I am writing to let you know how much I value Out of the Blue and the great opportunity it has been for
me to get a space as an architect at the Drill Hall. I am extremely grateful to be part of this place and
to share it with so many inspiring & creative people. The Drill Hall helps me to participate & engage
with our local community in so many ways; may it be through its multiple events or just by casual
every-day talks with people and friends at the cafe.

Being able to display some of my work outside my studio has generated lots of unexpected
enthusiasm and keeps on bringing fascinating discussions with people who possibly would not have
the opportunity to engage with art & architecture otherwise.

I would also like to praise Out of the Blue’s every-day engagement and hard work, which without any
doubt make our community and more largely Edinburgh a better place which we can all be proud of.

As also a resident on Dalmeny Street, I cannot emphasize enough how much the Drill Hall is brightening
up the area by bringing artists, performers, families, visitors from so many horizons to what many
consider the little gem of Leith.”
– Pierre F, Biomorphis, March 2017

“Being a writer can often be a lonely life. Having an office space at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall has given me a place to come and work where I can be supported by other creatives. It has also been useful in making contacts and working through ideas. I have just completed my first book, The Ethical Carnivore, which is selling well. I’m not sure I could have done it without the space and support provided by OOTB.”
– Sarah G, Author, March 2017

“At Bridges: The Actor’s Agency we find our office space at The Out Of The Blue Drill Hall invaluable. As well as being affordable, we love working within a creatively-minded atmosphere along with the other tenants. The staff could not be more helpful, the building is eco-friendly wherever possible and open for community hire/use. We hope this hub of creative collaboration in Leith will be a permanent fixture.”
– Angela C Bridges Actors Agency, March 2017

“I love my studio at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Leith. I am an abstract painter and my studio space is my haven. I feel very fortunate to be able to work in a centrally located space, right in my own neighbourhood. I love the old building and its history, as well as how the Drill Hall acts a community hub with its cafe and exhibitions, as well as its other community offerings. “
– Megan C, Painter, March 2017

“I’m a screenwriter who has been based at Out of the Blue Drill Hall for the past six years. The nature of my job is quite solitary but working here has been fantastic. I’ve had total peace when I need it, but have also been able to network with other creative professionals. The staff have always been incredibly helpful, which is especially important as my work requires reliable internet provision, and my deadlines often mean I have to access the building at unusual hours. I couldn’t be happier with Out of the Blue and strongly feel that the support they provide artists is exceptional.”
– Kate D, Screenwriter, April 2017

 

Participants of events space

“I had a great result and enjoyed myself at the [Arts] Market. I will definitely apply again in the future!”
– Hannah E, Jewellery, 24th June 2013.

“Thanks again for [The Arts Market on] Saturday, it was a good day, and such a lovely space!”
– Holly S, Illustrator, 26th June 2013

“I recently visited during the day, and did not appreciate [then] that you used to be an indoor drill hall. Such a magnificent space.”
– Colin S, Administrator, Scottish Association of Social Workers, 11th April 2014

“We were at the Flea Market last week – excellent – lovely venue!!”
– Morris M, , 5th June 2014

“All or Nothing have been teaching, performing and training at Out of the Blue Drill Hall since our first class in 2007. The venue has been essential for the growth of the company and our activities. They embraced the fact we wanted to hang and suspend ourselves from their beams, and have supported our activities, from allowing us to keep equipment up permanently, working in partnership to support community performances such as NTS Five Minute Theatre, to affordable space.

Our involvement with Out of the Blue has organically grown since 2007, becoming tenants in 2011 and having a registered office, and then having a training space at the Arts Factory. We currently have an office space in which we are aiming for it to work as an aerial organisation hub in Edinburgh, and teach 17 classes a week in the rehearsal room.

Riggable Space is a precious commodity in the aerial world in Edinburgh. Out of the Blue have offered affordable suitable space, been accommodating to our needs and being based there has brought about exchanges and collaborations with other artists and creative industries being based there. It is a creative hub.
Without Out of the Blue there would not be the aerial scene that there is today in Edinburgh. With over 200 people attending classes through All or Nothing a week, it plays a pivotal role.”
– Jennifer P, Artistic Director, All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre, March 2017

 

Cafe and Catering

“With a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, the Drill Hall Arts Café is a family friendly space in which to escape the bustle of the city.”
The List’s Eating & Drinking Guide 2012/2013

“An inclusive, arty atmosphere and nicely crafted home cooking make the Drill Hall Café a memorable spot for lunch or for a cup of coffee and a cake.”
The List’s Eating & Drinking Guide 2015/2016

“…a gem of a cafe…”
The List Eating and Drinking Guide 2017/18

“Social enterprise cafés don’t come much more professional or enticing than the Drill Hall Café”
The List Eating and Drinking Guide 2018/19

“[We’ve] only just got round to sending out a thank you to everyone. It’s a really big one to OOTB, I have never heard so many people complimenting the catering and service at function. It was a credit to your organisation”.
– Graham R, Business Coordinator, Leith Walk and West End, September 2014

“We were thoroughly impressed by the catering and would definitely use [OOTB] again should an opportunity arise. Thanks to your and your staff for a very professional service.”
– Howard E, tie ltd, September 2014

“…the quality of food, presentation and staff service was excellent for the Leith Business Hub opening – please pass on our appreciation to all involved.”
– Lindsey S, City of Edinburgh Council, September 2014

“We cannot praise lunch highly enough, we are absolutely delighted!!!”
– Carole F, Faculty of Advocates Advocates, June 2016

 

Consultations/Tours

“Saturday was lots of fun. The boys and I had a tour which we all found very interesting!”
– Kirsty S, in regards to OOTB is 20!

“On behalf of the entire group of Korean entrepreneurs, I’d like to thank you again for making yourself available (twice a day !!) for the group, telling your story and sharing your experience. Despite the language barrier, they were enormously impressed by your hard work to make lives better for artists and various communities.
We hope the entrepreneurs you’ve inspired will make positive changes in Korea and inspire others, too.”
– Hyunjung O, Director Education and Society, British Council Korea, 12th Sep 2016

“I wanted to thank you again [to Rob] for [his] advice and warm welcome at Out of the Blue last Monday.
You truly inspired our learners. Thank you for your time.”
– Caroline B, International Learning Administrator, Social Enterprise Academy, 11th Sep 2017

 

Arts Markets

“I just want you to say thank you for a last Saturday at Arts Market. I had a very nice time, lots of nice people, great x-mas atmosphere and good music 🙂 I’m pleased with all my sales. Thanx a lot :)”
– Karolina B, Arts Market 6th Dec 2014

“Had a great day on saturday. There was a great atmosphere and a really good crowd.”
– Edd W, Arts Market 6th Dec 2014

“Thanks for organising the market. It was an excellent event and as well as loads of sales I made some great contacts too.”
– Rona I, Arts Market 6th Dec 2014

“I want to thank you all […] for three years of great organizing, you should be proud of your reputation for great fairs.”
– Jane A, April 2015

“Just wanted to say a huge thanks to [Nicole] and your team for organising such a great event! If only all craft fairs could be like today!”
– Michelle R, Arts Market 8th Dec 2015


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