Social Enterprise Spotlight – Grassmarket Community Project

Posted: 06 October 2015, in Sector News

In our latest Social Enterprise Spotlight is Jonny Kinross and Grassmarket Community Project, an Edinburgh social enterprise helping homeless people and those with mental/physical health issues and learning support needs. Get in touch with Jonny on 0131 225 3626 / 0741 999 1209 / and check out Connect with them on Twitter and Facebook too.

Every few weeks we focus on a randomly selected social enterprise member for intense marketing support and promotion. Grassmarket Community Project will feature in all e-bulletins, on our website homepage and on all our social media, alongside other support, reaching thousands of people across Scotland and beyond.

What’s your social and/or environmental mission? To provide a unique blend of support and nurture to people who feel disengaged or marginalised. We recognise that everyone has something to contribute to the well-being of others. Our aim is to be as inclusive, responsive and supportive as we can in helping people realise their potential.

How do you do it? We deliver a range of creative, practical, educational, recreational, employability and well-being programmes. These include art, drama, numeracy, IT, gardening, photography, meditation, baking and job-clubs. Partly funding these are our 4 social enterprises: Furniture (re-cycling church pews), an events space, a café and Tartans (small textile gifts).

What’s your personal motivation for being a social entrepreneur? The people we support and the people we engage in supporting them. I feel the difference daily. I love being around enterprising and inspiring people as well as high quality products and services. I love working in a sector where so much good is done in the name of enterprise.

What are your current projects? We’re expanding our recreational and well-being programme including longer opening hours for our members. We’re working closely with musicians and promoters to get more events happening in our centre. We’re promoting our wedding service and expanding our kitchen so we can deliver recognised hospitality qualifications to our members.

What exciting things do you have coming up? The appointment of an Activities Co-ordinator to beef up our programme. Doubling the size of our kitchen and installing adaptable worktops for wheelchair users is now imminent thanks to RBS. Plans are in place for great office Christmas Dinner packages for those who want a good time doing good.

Who do you want to work with more? We’d love work more with people like the Botanical Gardens to produce stunning wooden furniture in character with old buildings. We’d love more music, screenings or theatre performances to turn our centre into a vibrant arts venue and we’d love our members to develop lost artisan textile based craft skills.

What’s your biggest challenge? Retaining our amazing volunteers. We grew quickly because we engaged the right people. They move on after our members have built strong bonds with them. The pressure on spaces. The constant dilemma for all events social enterprises – make money by hiring space versus using that space to deliver activities.

What top tip would you give to other social enterprises? Get the right people around you – Board members, staff, volunteers, partners and investors. Invest in your relationships with them and ensure they get recognition. Build your safety net, personally and as an organisation, so you can take risks and never be afraid to ask for help.