Caelan
“I’m an art student, and we got an email saying that they were looking for volunteers for the art group. I did that for a while, which was really really lovely, but then the reading and writing group needed more help so I started to help, and I am really enjoying it. I like how warm it is here, and how kind, and non judgemental. Everything is like a family. I would always encourage people to volunteer. It doesn’t have to be a weekly thing, originally I said I could come every second week, but once I started coming I wanted to come every week, and I’d come more often if I could. Specifically, seeing how the members interact is special, how they react to each other with so much compassion, it’s always everybody really looking after each other. When somebody gets through their first book, stuff like that is really rewarding, everybody that is here is trying really hard, and making an effort to be happy.”

Martha
“I heard about the community online and it seemed like a really lovely, holistic venture with so many activities for people to do, for people to get involved with. I love seeing the same people every week, it’s really nice to watch people getting more confident. I do the reading and writing group. I am a history student, a lot of reading and writing, so I thought I’d be best suited with this group. It’s completely non hierarchical, there’s a very palpable mutual acceptance, and everybody really gets on, and really wants to be here. It’s been lovely to watch one or two people in particular just come on leaps and bounds in their relationship with books. I think it’s such an important element of escapism and also grounding, and it’s been really nice to watch people make friends with it rather than feeling deficient.”

Liz Bryson
“I want to feel like I am making a contribution, because I’ve got what I need, and that seems fair. The reason I keep volunteering at the Grassmarket Community Project especially is because I feel so welcomed into the community. It’s a great place, I really love coming. It’s for me as much as it is for the members. I think people feel safe, would say it’s the best thing I’ve done in the last few years, I don’t want to ever stop.”