Greyfriars Kirk first opened its doors in 1620 to serve the south-west parish of Edinburgh, its community continues to thrive today, and it once had its own Mission for the homeless in the Grassmarket. The Grassmarket Mission was founded in 1890 and historically provided a variety of services from its two mission halls to homeless people in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh, where they traditionally gathered.
The two partners had been working alongside each other since 1982 providing outreach services out of the Kirkhouse building on Candlemaker Row, owned by the Kirk and previously used as Greyfriars’ church halls. In around 2009 the Mission and the Kirk sought to evolve these services from a “hand-out” to a “hand-up” approach to take forward the vision, mission and work they had already established. In 2010, they jointly established the Grassmarket Community Project as a stand-alone charity to deliver a mixture of education programmes, drop-in services, social enterprise and social integration activities aimed at reconnecting those facing deep social exclusion and who have been marginalised by lack of opportunity, skills and aspiration.
More information about Greyfriars Kirk can be found at greyfriarskirk.com.