Working with communities across Edinburgh

Grassmarket Community Project

Grassmarket Community Project (Scottish Social Enterprise of the Year 2017) has been developed in partnership by Greyfriars Kirk (Church of Scotland) and the Grassmarket Mission. 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 have developed the joint Project over the last 30 years 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.

Grassmarket Community Project takes an innovative approach to create community and provide sanctuary and support to participants, many of whom are amongst the most vulnerable of our citizens. Through mentoring, social enterprise, training and education in a nurturing environment, the Project develops skills which enable participants to develop to their full potential and move away from cycles of failure.

For us, Social Enterprise is core to our sustainability as an organisation. Although our roots are in working with people who were traditionally homeless, we have realised that community has a wider definition and we now work with people who experience mental/physical health issues and learning support needs.

As well as operating a community café and woodwork and tartan social enterprises, the Grassmarket Community Project offers a range of social integration and educational activities for members aimed at enhancing life skills and developing confidence. These include cookery and baking classes, art, drama, IT, reading and writing, sewing and photography.

The project also offers a drop-in free meal service on a Monday from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm which is open to anyone in the wider community.

Greyfriars Charteris Centre

The Greyfriars Charteris Centre is a “Centre for Community” based on the Pleasance in Edinburgh.  It has one large hall, two medium-sized halls, a meeting room, and numerous offices to be used by local individuals, community groups and businesses.  It is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation SC047573 and is part of the mission outreach of Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh

The Greyfriars Charteris Centre was formed in June 2016 within the former Kirk o’Field Church and St Ninians Centre and is open to people of all faiths and none.  Simply, this is the Kirk serving the people of its parish in very practical ways, unashamedly using the lessons of the Gospel to reach out and support the many needs of the locality.

We have a great opportunity to build upon the work of the Very Reverend Archibald H Charteris who established the premises in the late 1800’s and commenced many support activities for the benefit of the surrounding community.  Although many of the things he commenced are still in existence, much of his vision remains unfulfilled.  So now, with the blessing of the Charteris family, we aim to do what we can to further his vision which centres around enabling people to reach their potential no matter what their status or background.

The Greyfriars Charteris Centre is a Centre for Community.  It exists to provide a place of connection with communities of all kinds: location, people, faith, need, interest, aspiration and many more.  All its activities, whether directly managed or curated,  will give local people the opportunity to reach their potential by gaining new skills, building on existing abilities or dreams, and developing self-confidence.
Whilst this is a wide-ranging mission, the vision for its operations will be through two main strands.  It is a developing vision and is being carried out in part now from the array of halls, meeting rooms and offices available, but also as part of a planned redevelopment of the premises internally that will provide a better layout for the needs of the modern day society.

University Chaplain

Edinburgh University and Greyfriars Kirk have an association, going back to the foundation of both institutions. The first minister of our parish, the Rev Robert Rollock, was also the first principal of Edinburgh University; and over the years, several ministers of Greyfriars have also held this post. The University Chaplaincy exists for all faiths and none and is based at the Chaplaincy Centre in Potterow.

The minister of Greyfriars is a member of the Chaplaincy Team, and in the course of the year, a number of events and services are held in co-operation with the University Chaplaincy. Students and all members of the University community are always welcome at any services in Greyfriars. And we seek to offer pastoral support and volunteering opportunities for the university community in the many activities that are undertaken in the name of Greyfriars.

For more information, please visit the university’s chaplaincy site.


Greyfriars is proud to be a partner in HeartEdge. HeartEdge is a growing ecumenical network of churches and other organisations. At heart, we support mission focused on four key areas:

  • Commerce: Generating finance via enterprise
  • Culture: Art, music and performance re-imagining the Christian narrative for the present moment
  • Congregation: Liturgy, worship and day-to-day communal life
  • Compassion: Addressing social need via our congregations

HeartEdge is shaped by our experience at the margins, on the edge.


HeartEdge helps churches develop commercial, cultural and community activity while deepening relationship and insight with those most marginalised. We’re fuelled by the interest and agenda of an active membership participating across the emerging network.

We work with our members to identify their knowledge, insight, skills and experience and find ways to promote and share these. HeartEdge provides the opportunity for our members to access support, useful consultancy and share their learning with others.


Initiated by the congregation at St Martin-in-the-Fields, HeartEdge is an emerging network, building association, learning, development and resource with churches and other organisations working across the UK and overseas. HeartEdge is about being at the heart of culture, commerce and community, standing with those marginalised and on the edge.

With regular events, HeartEdge has a regular monthly Mailer with news, access to useful resources alongside other publications.

For more information, please visit the Heart Edge site.