Volunteering at the Grassmarket Mission

Last night our man Chris went along for the first time to volunteer at the Grassmarket Mission.

As part of the Edinburgh Junior Chamber of Commerce (JCI) communities work, members are given the opportunity to get stuck in and volunteer their time. Learning this was part of the JCI’s schedule, HTR was keen to get involved.

The Grassmarket Mission is a charity working with the people who are poor, marginalised, excluded, homeless, struggling with addiction or mental illness.

One of the features of the project is a five time a week drop-in service, producing meals free of charge for those who need it most.

A former kitchen attendant (when he was 15-17 mind), Chris though he’d get involved in the Monday evening food session.

Along with more than ten others, Chris scurried around helping out where he could to ensure enough food, drink and support was available for the fast influx of people.

Within seconds of the doors opening, plates of sausage and mash were quickly ferried into the dining room, which filled to near capacity as swiftly as it quietened down in the space of an hour.

During the evening volunteers are encouraged to chat with those dropping by, and this is a key goal of the mission.

Rather than a means to an end, the free meal service is an opportunity to develop conversations with the drop-ins. The mission also provides an ever-growing range of workshops and classes to give people the chance to learn skills and have something enjoyable to focus on.

One example shown to Chris was a hugely impressive bench created in the woodwork class. Far beyond his DIY ‘skills’ the crafted piece was created in a single session and could be sold on to help the project.

If you want to read more about the Grassmarket Mission please visit:

http://www.grassmarketmission.org/ (Website)

http://gcpnews.wordpress.com/ (Blog)

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