Greyfriars Kirk, has been working with the local community since the 17th century and once had it's own Mission in the Grassmarket. In recent years it had been facilitating provision of services for the homeless through its ownership of the Kirkhouse on Candlemaker Row in association with the Grassmarket Mission.
In around 2009 Greyfriars Kirk and the Grassmarket Mission sought to evolve these services from a "hand-out" to a "hand-up" and jointly set up and funded the Grassmarket Community Project to deliver a mixture of education programs, 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.
Currently these activities are delivered through cookery, gardening, woodwork, art, music and textiles programs and free meals are served to participants in the project as well as those in need. As the Project has developed it started to outgrow the old Kirkhouse that housed it so funding was put in place to create a new space on the adjacent land and the plan for the Kirkhouse extension was realised. When it opens later this year it will house a large hall/exhibition space and classrooms and provide a hub for social enterprise and integration in the local and wider communities.