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.