GCP history

GCP History

A short history of GCP

The Grassmarket Community Project was developed in partnership by Greyfriars Kirk and the Grassmarket Mission.

Greyfriars Kirk first opened its doors in 1620 to serve the south-west parish of Edinburgh and its community continues to thrive today. The Grassmarket Mission was founded in 1890 and has historically provided a variety of services to homeless people in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh where they traditionally gathered. The two partners have been working alongside each other since 1982 and developed the joint Project working out of the building previously used as Greyfriars’ church halls. Grassmarket Community Project was formed as a stand-alone charity in 2010 by the two partners, to take forward the vision, mission and work they had established.

Although the partners’ roots are in working with people who are homeless or destitute, a wider definition of community came to be realised and the Project works with people who are dealing with a wide range of complex issues including mental and physical health problems, learning difficulties, poverty, substance misuse, social isolation and more.

The Grassmarket Centre on Candlemaker Row was officially opened by John Swinney, MSP on 25 April 2013. The centre has won architectural awards for its design and is home to our community, which is supported through a combination of our award-winning social enterprises, charitable grants and donations.

Grassmarket Community Project is one of the four member organisations of the Greyfriars family which also includes Greyfriars Kirk itself, Greyfriars Outreach and Greyfriars Charteris Centre. Greyfriars Kirk is a Church of Scotland congregation at whose initiative they were all formed. Greyfriars Outreach opens the Kirk for visitors and a wide range of artistic and social events while Greyfriars Charteris Centre hosts a community of user groups from its newly converted building in the Pleasance. Together, but to different extents, the family serve our neighbours over four key areas

  • Community: Building our common life together through hospitality, whether in the church congregation or among the many other groups that cross our thresholds
  • Compassion: Addressing the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our society
  • Commerce: Running social enterprises that generate finance through meeting the needs of our customers while also supporting our members, our staff and our volunteers
  • Culture: Using art, music and performance and the insights of Christianity to meet each other’s spiritual needs