Essential GCP – Part 2

Essential GCP – social poverty and connection

In the second of our new Essential GCP series, we talk more to Helene, our CEO, about the underlying factors which drive our essential work. We call this our Social Purpose.

By talking more about our social purpose, we can challenge some of the perceptions of why GCP is here, what we do and the people we support.

By helping others to understand the work we do, GCP raises awareness and engages with people at every level of society, so that we can continue to offer connection and a way forward to those who need it most.

GCP’s Social Purpose is driven by two key questions:

  1. What can we do to stop people becoming homeless? 
  2. How can we reach and help the people who are most likely to become homeless?

In Part 1 of Essential GCP – food for thought Helene talked about poverty being the overriding cause of homelessness, then focused on Food Poverty.  

Helene recaps on what we mean by poverty, 

‘I see it as being three pillars, food, social and financial poverty. If there is no intervention, if there’s no remedy to these three elements, this naturally means that any individual or family won’t have the money to have a home or enough food, or any engagement socially. At GCP, our focus is to tackle all three pillars. We believe this is the most effective way that our organisation can help support people out of poverty and therefore reduce the risk of homelessness.’ 

Social Poverty

Social poverty comes from a lack of quality, trustworthy and dependable relationships. It is sustained social isolation which cannot be addressed through an individual’s current circumstances and resources. As an analogy, feeling hungry is different than being food insecure, just as feeling lonely is different than being in social poverty.  

Most of us feel hungry or lonely from time to time, some more often than others. However, what sets these feelings apart from being food insecure or socially poor is whether or not the person experiencing these feelings can access the resources necessary to address these issues.  

As with food poverty, financial poverty is one of the underlying causes of social poverty, Helene explains,  

‘When you have no money, you can’t just go out, for example, go to the shops, to see your friends. You don’t have the money for your bus ride. Also, you don’t have the money for a TV, let alone a TV license or subscriptions, so you start to lose connection with the outside world.

‘Without human interaction, without being able to connect with others, it’s a very lonely world. What or who is there to inspire you or help motivate you? Without friends, or contact with other people, your life becomes very one-dimensional and then it becomes difficult to lift yourself out of that social isolation again.’ 

Not being able to connect, interact and share time with others, or losing the capacity to interact because of financial poverty and/or trauma, impacts on self-confidence, energy and motivation. People can lose a sense of being in the same boat as others, or having the opportunity to reach out and help or be helped. 

The Covid pandemic compounded the effect of social poverty within society. Many are still struggling to climb out of their social isolation and loneliness. 

Culture Club at GCP

Connection at GCP

Loneliness and Social Isolation are the main reasons people give for coming to GCP. They may have no family or friends. They may not have had a positive interaction with anyone for some time. 

There are many complex reasons leading to an individual feeling isolated from society. BUT Social Poverty is usually the first and most immediate struggle that we can start to help people address.

Whatever the circumstances, people are welcome at the Grassmarket Community Project. 

Everything we do here at GCP is about connection.

First and foremost, we eat, hang out and learn together in a safe, warm, welcoming and non-judgmental environment.  

Our weekly Members Programme provides a whole host of opportunities to learn, create and develop skills and confidence within a group. Members, volunteers and staff team are learning and growing together.

It is often when people are side by side engaged in an activity that the most valuable conversations take place.  

Members find that they can start to share their stories, quite freely and openly. They are also happy to talk to others about how GCP is helping them find their own path through their challenges to discover their untapped potential. 

For our Members, GCP is hugely positive and often essential. We are the antidote to social isolation, because we are the good place to be. 

Fund and Sponsor GCP Member Activities (1)

How to support GCP’s Social Purpose

Please help us to keep providing support and opportunities to vulnerable people. There are various ways you can support our community. You can donate, fund or sponsor, support our social enterprises and volunteer.

Donate >>   
Fund and Sponsor >>

Support our Social Enterprises

Wood Workshop >>
Tartan Shop >>
Event Hire Service >>
Visit Coffee Saints >>

AND follow, like and share on our Socials


The Grassmarket Community Project’s Members Programme relies on the generosity of our customers, funders and donors. Our key funders for this area of our work are Nationwide Community Grants, The Robertson Trust and EVOC/Scottish Government Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund. We thank them for their essential continued support.

Nationwide Building Society Community Grants
The Robertson Trust
EVOC logo
ScotGov Logo