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Tommy’s leaving

It is with much sadness, and enormous gratitude for giving us 16 years that we say goodbye to Tommy Steel, Our Senior Manager & Manager of the Woodwork shop Grassmarket Furniture.

Grassmarket Furniture was our flagship social enterprise founded by Tommy and Greyfriars Kirk and has transformed the lives of thousands of vulnerable people – directly through training and apprenticeships or indirectly through gifting its profits to our engagement programme and wider charitable causes. Tommy is a legend.

Tommy (left) and Brillo the (his) dog with the project in 2014

He leaves us, retiring to Spain, with a huge legacy and big wooden clogs to fill ! Anyone who has met Tommy or had the pleasure to buy from him, work for with or volunteering alongside him knows we do not exaggerate when we say he is an outstanding individual. Brimming with compassion, care for others, good humour and talent as well social enterprise skills that have played an essential part in the Grassmarket Community Projects successful development. Tommy, we salute you.

Tommy (right) with his team

One thing among many Tommy delivered year on year for our community in our lunch room was Robert Burns ‘Address to a Haggis’ – an example of how, even when Tommy was being funny and entertaining he did it with precision, skill and huge enthusiasm. Also an example of how he was much much much more than a man who made beautiful furniture for our customers. He created a safe nurturing community, a family, a network of mutually supportive and inspiring individuals. Everyone is welcome to Tommy’s leaving tribute on Zoom – get in touch with and we’ll send you the details. For now, enjoy Tommy…

Tommy, our members, volunteer, staff team, board members and partners are indebted to you for all you’ve done for us at the Grassmarket and helping build our community and charity. Best wishes from us all.

We are recruiting a Woodwork Workshop Manager

We are recruiting a wood workshop Manager to be part of our multi award winning fleet of social enterprises.

This is an amazing opportunity for a creative furniture maker or woodworker who loves working with people and wants to change the world.

The successful applicant will have a real love for wood, quality, craftspersonship, customer service as well as a commitment to a strong social business ethos and believing everyone should reach their potential and contribute to society.

In return for them creating a safe working environment wherein people can learn skills whilst the community can generate income to support our wider aims we will pay them £30,000 per annum plus pension and 2 wellbeing days additional leave as well as 29 days holiday.

More details here:

NOTE: as a result of current COVID-19 guidelines the successful candidate will be working initially with restricted numbers in their team (and reduced output/targets) to allow safe working practices and minimise potential infection spread.

Grassmarket Centre is re-opening soon

Its coming. We are re-opening. Albeit with significant restrictions in place for your safety we are re-opening to our community. We are so looking  forward to seeing people in…

Thank you for your support and patience. Join us and be with us and part of our community.

Please note that due to COVID-19 global pandemic the following restrictions and systems will be in place until further notice.

Anyone entering the building must:

  • Be attending a pre-organised activity, appointment or event
  • Provide a contact name and address or where they can be contacted (for track and trace purpose) – this will be held in GDPR compliant database and never be shared or used for any other purpose without explicit consent
  • Have their temperature checked (with a no-contact device) and be refused admission if they have a high temperature (and be advised to contact their GP)
  • Comply with any one way systems and instructions on movement within and use of the building including use of sanitisers, hand washing facilities and staying out of restricted or prohibited areas

We have a maximum capacity (we always have had a maximum though this is significantly less now to enable social-distancing measures). Once we reach that maximum limit – people may be refused entry as they considered one more that we can safely allow into the Centre. They may asked to wait until another leaves – a one out one in policy. Please be patient with our team.

Anyone, as always, who is abusive, threatening or aggressive towards any of our staff, volunteers, guests, customers or members will be refused entry and may be reported to the Police. CCTV is in operation at our door and entrance/cafe area.

We reserve the right to impose further restrictions at any time without notice in the interests of public safety. Please bear with us during this time.

Submissions to The Bridge & The OOSOOM

Please find below two open invitations for your submissions of writing or art work:

The first is from the Bridge Magazine, brand new free magazine for anyone living vulnerably or homeless in Edinburgh. Produced in partnership with the MSc Publishing programme at Edinburgh Napier University and the Grassmarket Community Project.

The second is from the Out Of Sight Out Of Mind Exhibition (OOSOOM). OOSOOM is a collaborative project organised by a Planning Group of organisations and individuals who have lived experience of mental health issues. It is hosted by CAPS Independent Advocacy, funded by both the NHS Lothian and Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation, and is part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival’s year-round programme.

1.The Bridge Magazine

The Bridge magazine team are currently working on the first issue and would like to invite submissions from anyone who has experienced homelessness or has lived vulnerably at some point in their lives.

We would welcome material of any genre or theme, such as poetry (no longer than 30 lines), stories and essays (no longer then 1,000 words as well as photographs (of Edinburgh only) or artwork (any medium).

Please send any submissions to with the subject SUBMISSION.

Each submission should be given a title, and photographs or artwork should have a short description and the email should include a statement confirming that the submission is all your own work. For example: ‘I declare that this submission is my own work and has not be copied or taken from another individual or publication.’

Submission Deadline: Friday 17th July 2020, 5pm

Any submissions received after the deadline may also be considered for future issues of the magazine. If your work is not chosen for the first issue, it may be selected for any future issues of the magazine.

Depending on how many submissions are received, it may not be possible to reply to each submission.

The decision of the judges is final & The Bridge magazine team reserve the right to edit any written submissions for clarity.

Postal submissions will be accepted after the deadline for future issues. Please email for information on how to submit via post.

2.Out of Sight Out of Mind (OOSOOM) 2020 Exhibition

A Call for Art:

People who have personal lived experience of mental health issues are invited to submit an artwork to Out of Sight Out of Mind (OOSOOM) exhibition.

Last year more than 180 people took part and exhibited installations, projections, films, animations, paintings, drawings, sound works, prints, sculptures, and photographs.

This year one work per person can be submitted. Artworks can be proposed/submitted in any media and be any size. You are welcome to respond to this year’s Scottish Mental Health Art Festival theme which is ‘perspectives’, however this is not a requirement at all.

What we request:

· Artwork should have been made by people who have personal lived experience of mental health issues

· Artwork does not have to be about the topic of mental health – it can be on any topic

· Artwork can be in any form or media

· Artwork can be any size

· Artwork should not have been shown at a previous OOSOOM exhibition

· If you are submitting artwork on behalf of someone else, that you ensure you have their permission to do so and to check what name they would like displayed next it

· If you are submitting artwork on behalf of someone posthumously, that the person who made it had lived experience of mental health issues

· If possible, to email your submission form as a Word document, however you can also send it as a pdf, or by post

· If possible, to send a photo of the artwork with your submission. If you don’t have a photo, or your artwork is not finished yet, then you can still make a submission, just let us know what you will be submitting in your form

· You to send a completed submission form by Friday 31st July 2020

· You to let us know if you would like to withdraw your submission

What you can expect:

· We aim to treat everyone equally and fairly. For example, we consider that everyone’s artwork is of equal value

· We cannot sell artworks at the exhibition

· We will confirm if we can exhibit your artwork before the end of August 2020

· We will get in touch with you if we need more information about your submission

· We want everyone to be able to take part. However, if the exhibition is over-subscribed priority will be given to people who live in the Lothians, as this is the priority area of the exhibitions funding

· The current situation resulting from COVID-19 may result in changes to the exhibition. If you make a submission, we will let you know about any relevant changes

· We may refuse artworks on grounds such as: advocacy, legality, safety or another reason agreed by the OOSOOM Planning Group

We look forward to receiving your submission.

Return your form by Friday 31st July 2020, by email or post.

Get in touch if you have any questions or would like to speak to us about your or your groups idea/artwork before submitting it.

By email: By phone: Leave a message on 07989402634 By post: LEARN Office, CAPS, Floor K, Argyle House, Lady Lawson Street, Edinburgh EH3 9DR

More Info at:    

10 Year Anniversary: Jonny’s Memory of the Grassmarket Community Project

“By far the most striking thing about the GCP for me are our lunches together every day. Its a rare and possibly unique privilege for a CEO to sit down with the community, the members, the volunteers, students, staff (and even the odd random !) and hear their stories over a delicious 2 course meal. I love hearing daily about how important the project is to them and the difference it makes. I am also bowled over by the determination and strength of members who overcome huge personal and material challenges to come into the project to be with people that care about them. Its a miracle that some of them are there and I am always grateful they made it.

We share many laughs and many tears together over our lunch and enjoy the odd performance poetry – and of course lots of birthdays! We have held many silent vigils as well for tragically lost members to suicide, to illness, but also to victims of terrorism, to Grenfell and to others across the city, country and world. The humanity, compassion, strength and vulnerability I witness in that lunch room daily is overwhelming, inspirational and transformational. Few visitors to the project, that join us for lunch, leave that lunch room the same person as when they arrived.” – Jonny Kinross, CEO ( & Chief Birthday Cake eater!)

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