Our Story

Grassmarket Community Project is a social enterprise born from a century old partnership between Greyfriars Kirk and the Grassmarket Mission in Edinburgh. It has transformed from a humble soup kitchen into a vibrant and inclusive community hub. We reach out to disadvantaged and vulnerable people by providing a nurturing, safe place where they can attend workshops, meet others and build up their skills and confidence. Grassmarket Community Project provides shelter and structure for those who need it. It is a sanctuary, with many regular members telling us that it “feels like home”. In 2011, a talented member of our weaving group took inspiration from the famous local story of Greyfriars Bobby and designed Greyfriars Tartan, the first of our Grassmarket Tartans. In 2014 we started a tartan textiles group where our in-house tailor equips members with the skills required to create a range of beautiful handmade products. While making the products, members are undergoing a comprehensive textiles training programme and working towards becoming more employable, as well as gaining valuable life skills such as basic numeracy, improved communication and team work. We also use other, well known tartans to make products to order.

Greyfriars Tartan Fabric

The tartan colours represent:

  • Blue: Scotland’s Saltire flag
  • Green: Greyfriars monks’ herb gardens – resurrected by the Grassmarket Community Project 10 years ago
  • Brown: Greyfriars monks’ tunics
  • Purple: Ecclesiastical celebrations and royal connections
  • Terracotta: Lady Yester was connected to Greyfriars Kirk and her birth village of Yester in East Lothian is celebrated for its terracotta roofs, which are rare in the UK
  • Gold: Inspired by the William Blake poem ‘Jerusalem’: “I give you the end of a golden string; Only wind it into a ball, It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate, Built in Jerusalem’s wall…”

Tartan production photo