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Part of the social enterprise Grassmarket Community Project is the wonderful woodworking project run by Tommy Steel. They have made bespoke wooden items from communion tables to lecterns, and all manner of wooden toys for council nurseries, all from disused church pews. The project is beneficial for those vulnerable adults who learn with Tommy how to make all the beautiful items which they create. It gives them new skills, new friends and new purpose in their lives.

Tommy Steel of Grassmarket Community Project

Anyone who knows Tommy will understand that when he was offered the chance of taking the woodworking team to Zambia on a trip where they will put a roof on a school for girls, he leapt at it.

Tommy explained : “Our plan is to take a group of vulnerable adults from Edinburgh who have had a disadvantaged background. Most of them will have had no experience of travel and this trip will give them a life-changing experience. Not only will we help build the school, we will pass on valuable skills to the villagers who will be helping us.

“This is a much-needed secondary school, and it has the full support of the local community. The girls in this area currently face a future with little or no access to education beyond primary school. There is still a prevalence of early pregnancies and the traditional practice of child marriage. The area is so remote that it is difficult to get crafts people into the area.”

Somehow or another Tommy will make this trip happen, but he told The Edinburgh Reporter today that promised funding from Holyrood is no longer forthcoming.

So he has asked us to publicise the cause and point anyone who might be able to help in the direction of the GoFundMe page which he recently set up. We hope that some of you can help.

The Edinburgh Reporter is a big fan of the Grassmarket Community Project which is a social enterprise working with vulnerable adults, perhaps in recovery or who have had experience of homelessness.

It is hard in just a few paragraphs to give you a flavour of all the different things they do. Our best advice is to go to their café (open seven days a week) where they serve great soup, coffee and scones. Who knows you might even be enlisted as a volunteer!

Grassmarket Community Project 86 Candlemaker Row Edinburgh Tel 0131 225 3626