What We Do

The Grassmarket Community Project takes an innovative approach to creating community, providing sanctuary and support to people dealing with multiple complex issues. These include homelessness, mental/physical health problems, learning difficulties, poverty, substance misuse, physical abuse and more.

Through social enterprise, mentoring, education and support in a nurturing environment, the Project creates opportunities for those furthest from mainstream education and employment opportunities. Individuals develop skills and confidence, re-connect with themselves and their community, and improve their overall health and wellbeing.

Social Enterprise

Social Enterprise is the core to our sustainability. Our enterprises include a café, events and catering services, furniture-making and tartan textiles based at our Grassmarket Centre on Candlemaker Row. We also run two cafes for staff onsite at Church of Scotland, 121 George Street and the St James development for Lang O’Rourke.

These enterprises involve, support and develop the talents of our vulnerable members. This model enables volunteers and staff to journey alongside members as long it takes, supporting lasting changes in self-perception and wellbeing. Individuals develop valuable work-related skills, experience and ethics that lead to further opportunities such as volunteering, training or employment at the Project and elsewhere.

Member Activities

We offer a dynamic range of free activities, classes and supported groups for our community members. This programme provides opportunities for social integration and education. Individuals enhance their life skills, develop confidence, increase their resilience, self-reliance and independence.

The programme includes practical, physical, creative and group-work sessions; literacy, gardening, IT skills, hill-walking, mindfulness, drama, art, choir, book group, creative writing and more. Further information on the programme is available on the Members page.

Open Door Meals

We continue the tradition long-established by our founding partners of free meals, with “Open Door Meals” targeted at people who are homeless or vulnerably housed. Other services include free vet clinics, hairdressing and benefit support.

Customers and supporters can buy a £5 “Pay it Forward” meal voucher at our cafe counter or online shop and give this to someone (redeemable in our café) or leave it with a member of staff who will ensure it feeds someone in need. Other ways to support our community can be found here.

Community Events

Our free Community Cinema shows a wide range of entertaining films from family classics and slapstick comedy to hard-hitting dramas and thought-provoking documentaries. Special screenings include visits from film directors, actors and others.

We also run other public events throughout the year, including our annual fundraising ceilidh with GRASS www.grassmarketresidents.org.

Check out upcoming films and other events here.