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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Deacon Blue star opens charity's revamped community cafe


Cash from Foundation Scotland secured the popular coffee shop's future

A community group has received over £375,000 from Foundation Scotland to extend vital its city centre facilities.

Offering everything from woodwork classes to meals for those who are homeless, the Grassmarket Community Project aims to provide sanctuary for those in the city who are often excluded. 

The registered charity runs the fully accessible community hub and café on Candlemakers Row where people can pop in for their caffeine fix and something fresh to eat knowing that all proceeds 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 group secured funding from Foundation Scotland.

An investment of over £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. 

Deacon Blue singer Ricky Ross is a long-term supporter of theGrassmarket Community Project’s workand was there on the night to officially open the space and meet staff, volunteers, supporters and local people. 

Foundation Scotland, Scotland's community foundation, offers social investment funding to social enterprises, community organisations and charities. Up to 50% of the funding is through a non-repayable grant, with the remainder through a loan. Foundation Scotland’s social investment team prides itself on its relationship-based support and helps successful applicants to raise further funds.

Chris Holloway, head of social investment at Foundation Scotland, said: “Grassmarket Community Project secured over £375,000 from Foundation Scotland and we have worked closely together across the last few years to get to this exciting stage. The team has 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.

“The funding landscape has changed monumentally post-Covid. There are far less available opportunities for capital costs, and building costs are rising significantly. Yet we know groups urgently need this support to get started or grow. We’ve 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.

"We enable socially conscious groups to become more sustainable, grow and become less reliant on grant funding. It’s a win-win all round, and our impact reporting shows that this funding model works. We are encouraging all interested groups to visit our website or contact our team directly to discuss your eligibility". 

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 has 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.”

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 visit here.



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