Grassmarket Community Project
The Grassmarket Community Project takes an innovative approach to creating community, providing sanctuary and support to people dealing with multiple complex issues. These include homelessness, mental/physical health problems, learning difficulties, poverty, substance misuse, physical abuse and more.
Through social enterprise, mentoring, education and support in a nurturing environment, the Project creates opportunities for those furthest from mainstream education and employment opportunities. Individuals develop skills and confidence, re-connect with themselves and their community, and improve their overall health and wellbeing.
Social Enterprise is the core to our sustainability. Our enterprises include a busy café, events and outside catering services. We also have managed and run an additional 3 catering social enterprises off site, being involved in the multi million pound build at the new St James Quarter and the New Meadowbank Sports centre. Our furniture-making and tartan textiles enterprises are based at our Grassmarket Centre on Candlemaker Row.
These enterprises involve, support and develop the talents of our vulnerable members. This model enables volunteers and staff to journey alongside members as long it takes, supporting lasting changes in self-perception and wellbeing. Individuals develop valuable work-related skills, experience and ethics that lead to further opportunities such as volunteering, training or employment at the Project and elsewhere.
We offer a dynamic range of free activities, classes and supported groups for our community members. This programme provides opportunities for social integration and education. Individuals enhance their life skills, develop confidence, increase their resilience, self-reliance and independence.
The programme includes practical, physical, creative and group-work sessions; literacy, gardening, IT skills, hill-walking, mindfulness, drama, art, choir, book group, creative writing and more. We continue the tradition long-established by our founding partners of free meals, with “Open Door Meals” targeted at people who are homeless or vulnerably housed. Other services include free vet clinics, hairdressing and benefit support. Customers and supporters can buy a £5 “Pay it Forward” meal voucher at our cafe counter or online shop and give this to someone (redeemable in our café) or leave it with a member of staff who will ensure it feeds someone in need. We also run a free weekly community cinema that is open to all.