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Social investment for Grassmarket hub

Foundation Scotland has provided £375,000 in social investment to the Grassmarket Community Project to extend their vital city-centre facilities. 

Offering everything from woodwork classes to meals for homeless people, the Grassmarket Community Project aims to create a community and provide sanctuary for those in the city who are often excluded.  The registered charity runs the fully accessible community hub and café on Candlemaker's Row, where people can pop in for their caffeine fix and something fresh to eat, knowing that all profits support social good in the area.

However, with demand for their services growing year on year and with the café rapidly running out of space, the registered charity secured funding from our Investing in Enterprise Fund. An investment of £375,000 has enabled the organisation to extend its existing facilities and create a brand-new pavilion space hosting Coffee Saints, a larger, bright and friendly café and improved spaces for activities. This is the second Coffee Saints to open in Edinburgh after the successful launch of their first cafe in Edinburgh's New Town, which opened last September. 

Part of the funding is through a non-repayable grant, with the remainder through a loan. Jonny Kinross, CEO of Grassmarket Community Project, said:

"The support we’ve received from the team at Foundation Scotland has been instrumental in enabling us to plan, develop and now finally officially open our fantastic new café and pavilion in the centre of the city. We’re extremely grateful to have received such a significant sum across the combination of loan and grant funding but above this, the team have offered a real partnership approach to the finance, which has been so refreshing and supportive.  They have taken the time to understand our business, the challenges and the opportunities presented.


Like everyone else, our project was inevitably held up through the crisis, but the team have been with us every step of the way.  We are so excited that our doors are now open, and we can’t wait to meet old and new friends for a coffee in the new café.” 

Joining Jonny at the opening event in June were several members of the project, with the official opening ceremony performed by Ricky Ross, lead singer of Deacon Blue, Broadcaster and DJ, who said:

"It’s so encouraging to see funders and social investors like Foundation Scotland getting behind the vision of this community, the amazing staff and the Volunteers at GCP. A vision that everyone should have a place to be themselves, a place to reach their potential, a place to be safe, to be valued and where they can contribute to the lives of others. It was a pleasure to open GCP’s new building and enable them to transform more lives and give vulnerable people a chance to live a life free of trauma, where they can develop their creativity, skills and self-worth and, above all, experience hope at a very challenging time for too many people.”

The funding landscape has changed monumentally post-covid, with fewer opportunities for enterprises to get support with capital costs, and building costs are rising significantly.  Yet some groups urgently need this support to get started or grow. Foundation Scotland (and formerly Resilient Scotland) has invested over £12.5 million in 72 organisations across the last ten years. This funding, combined with our dedicated and experienced support, has delivered transformational change, enabling socially conscious groups to become more sustainable, grow, and become less reliant on grant funding.

Chris Holloway, Head of Social Investment at Foundation Scotland, said,

“We have worked closely with the Grassmarket Community Project over the last few years to get to this exciting stage. Jonny and the team have worked so hard to get to where we are today.  It’s great to finally have the doors open and get to see inside the spaces which will mean so much to so many."

Foundation Scotland’s 'Investing in Enterprise Fund’ offers up to a quarter of a million pounds in blended finance to eligible social enterprises, community organisations and charities operating in 18 local authority areas.  For more information, including details on how to apply for the Investing in Enterprise Fund.

<p>Inside the new Coffee Saints cafe in the Grassmarket.</p>

Inside the new Coffee Saints cafe in the Grassmarket.