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BBC Short Film made on the Grassmarket Community Project

Watch this short film about our project now ! First screened New Years Day 2018

We’re recruiting a Literacy Skills Tutor

Reading and Writing Session Worker

One session per week – £45 per 3 hour session on a self employed basis

We are recruiting for a Reading and Writing Session Worker to work with the members of the project to increase participant’s level of literacy.

The Grassmarket Community Project is an award social enterprise providing a unique blend of support and nurture to people who feel disengaged or marginalised.
You will be required to:
• Develop a rapport and robust working relationship with participants
• Construct a comprehensive and detailed reading and writing course syllabus
• Actively encourage and develop member commitment and engagement
• Identify and meet member’s learning support needs
• Work with vulnerable adults with a range of learning abilities
• Train members to enhance their reading and writing skills

Essentials for the role
• Experience of Community/Adult Education/Training or Group Facilitation

• Experience of delivering SVQs
• Ability to work with a wide range of people members/staff/volunteers
• A keen interest in literacy teaching and an understanding of teaching methods
• Knowledge and experience of literacy teaching methods
• Demonstrable knowledge of literacy and the English language
• A passion for working alongside individuals with a diverse range of literacy skills

To apply, please send your CV along with a covering letter setting out how you fit the person specification to

Applications will be accepted up to Friday 12th January.

This post has been funded by the Scottish Government and European Union

Burns Night Dinner Dance Fundraiser

Join us for a fabulous evening of Poetry, Storytelling, Whisky Tasting, Magic and the finest 5 course dinner followed by Ceilidh dancing !

We’re not only repeating last years sell-out wonderful evening – we’re adding to it !

Your ticket includes:

  • Fizz on arrival
  • A 5 Course delicious dinner from award winning Grassmarket Events Catering Team
  • Additional 2 Glasses per person of Wine
  • The Address to the Haggis by our very own Tommy Steel
  • Stortelling from mulit-award winning Mercat Tours
  • Whisky tasting from The Scotch Whisky Experience
  • Magic tricks delivered to your table by Jim the Magician
  • Ceilidh calling and dancing to the lovely tunes of The Greater Spotted Ceilidh Band
  • Fabulous prizes Charity Auction & Raffle

£50 per person or £450 for a table of ten (9 for the price of ten) per table


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Grassmarket Community Project makes the headlines

We’ve been in the news again, and better late than never because it’s regarding winning Scottish Social Enterprise of the Year in November. A nice Christmas present to have it announced in a national newspaper though!

Angela Constance MSP presents to Jonny Kinross, Susan Harper Catherine Jones and Tommy Steel at the Awards ceremony at the Scottish Parliament

Angela Constance MSP presents to Jonny Kinross, Susan Harper Catherine Jones and Tommy Steel at the Awards ceremony at the Scottish Parliament

The Grassmarket Community Project win Social Enterprise of the Year


Read more at:

Scotland does social enterprise very well and the evidence of this was clearly visible in Edinburgh at the Social Enterprise Awards in November. Social enterprises are thriving and now provide more than 81,000 full-time equivalent jobs, with an annual gross value added of approximately £2 billion, according to the Social Enterprise in Scotland: Census 2017.

So what makes a business a social enterprise? “Essentially it is an organisation that trades goods and services to achieve a social impact,” says Fraser Kelly, chief executive of Social Enterprise Scotland, the member organisation which promotes a positive vision for them. Social enterprises aim to make a profit just like any private sector business. However, 100 per cent of their profits or surpluses are always reinvested back into their social and/or environmental purpose. In addition, social enterprises in Scotland have an “asset lock” on all their buildings, land and other assets.

Social enterprises must be sustainable in order to meet their social and/or environmental mission, although there is no legal definition for them. They come in many guises: community interest companies, social firms, development trusts, credit unions, housing associations and co-operatives and mutuals.

Kelly differentiates between two types of social enterprise. “They are all driven by generating surplus – either through primary purpose trading or through a commercial activity and the gifting of its profits for charitable activity.” The primary purpose trader is a supportive employer of people with significant disadvantages and those people are involved in the delivery of the service that the business provides. “They are in the vanguard of making sure there are employment and development opportunities for people who are very marginalised,” says Kelly. Examples of this type of social enterprise include Haven Products in Clydebank, Inverness and Larbert, Forth Sector and St Jude’s Laundry in Edinburgh and the Bread Maker in Aberdeen. The commercial trader is supporting charitable activities, for example, for the long-term unemployed or for people with mental health issues. “They are tackling some of the big ‘chunky’ intractable problems that Scotland has,” says Kelly, adding that one example is the Callander Hostel, which funds the work of the Callander Youth Project Trust in the Perthshire town. “The Social Enterprise in Scotland: Census 2017 showed that over 70 per cent of all the social enterprise activity in Scotland was focused on either a geographic community or a community of interest – resolving the problems that are important to that community,” he adds.

Kelly points to the housing associations and credit unions as examples of how social enterprise works successfully at a very local level. So where has the social enterprise culture in Scotland come from? “We probably only coined that phrase relatively recently,” admits Kelly. “Community enterprise or community businesses that operate in an environment where they are generating a profit to create social impact have been around probably since the late 1970s, early 1980s. “There was a very productive group of people around at that time who were starting to explore what community business could actually do. “It wasn’t about simply capacity building; it was about community enterprise to make a difference. So it has been a journey since then.

“Scotland still has the most benevolent political environment anywhere in the world for social enterprise. “We were really encouraged by the way the Scottish Government co-produced Scotland’s Social Enterprise Strategy. “It wasn’t a government document, it was co-owned by the social enterprise community. The ten-year action plan that’s flowed from it is fully funded: we are very excited about that.” Kelly adds: “I think cross-party support in Scotland for social enterprise is as strong as anywhere in the world.”

In 2008, the first Social Enterprise World Forum was held in Edinburgh and next year it returns to the city. It was the Grassmarket Community Project in the capital which lifted the Social Enterprise of the Year title at the awards event in the Scottish Parliament on 7 November. The project – a partnership between Greyfriars Kirk and the Grassmarket Mission – creates community and provides sanctuary and support for vulnerable people.

Through mentoring, social enterprise, training and education in a nurturing environment, the project develops skills which enable participants to develop to their full potential and move away from cycles of failure. As well as operating a community café and woodwork and tartan social enterprises, the Grassmarket Community Project offers social integration and educational activities for members. These activities are designed to enhance life skills and develop confidence and include cookery and baking classes, art, drama, IT, reading, writing, sewing and photography.

“It’s a fantastic organisation,” says Kelly. “It makes sure that fundamentally the thing that drives the organisation is its ‘members’ – the people that use its services. “It has a lovely attitude: every member sits down to eat lunch together at the same. “It builds confidence, it builds unity, it builds a sense of belonging to an organisation which is actually making a difference. “And then you start to look at where the people who use the services go in terms of their life journey, the difference they are making is simply fantastic.

“For me, all of this comes down to nothing other than the individual citizen that we should put at the heart of every decision we make. “That is what social enterprise actually does – it puts the individual first.”

Society stars Some of the best known social enterprises in Scotland include: – The Big Issue – The Wise Group – Social Bite – Divine Chocolate – Glasgow Housing Association – Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust – Link Group – Capital Credit Union – Homeless World Cup This article appears in the WINTER 2017 edition of Vision Scotland. Further information about Vision Scotland here.

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Tommy & the Workshop Team have been very busy!

Tommy, Susan and the whole Workshop team have been really busy with commissions lately.

Here’s just some of the stunning pieces they have produced for Edinburgh City Chambers which are now happily in situ. We think you’ll agree these tables are a work of art in themselves and we hope their natural beauty provides happiness for many years to come.

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They have also been busy making some of their beautiful wooden award trophies. Here’s one which was made for the #DMCollective Awards 2017 with Digital Mum of the Year Cat Davies.


The team are currently making the trophies for Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park!

If you or your business would like to commission any furniture or wooden items from our Social Enterprise, with all profits going to our charity supporting Edinburgh’s homeless and vulnerable adults, please get in touch with the team on

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