The Greyfriars Charteris Centre, in Edinburgh’s Pleasance, is a Centre for Community offering halls, meeting rooms and offices for use by and for the community, with options available for corporate and private use as well in order to further support its activity.
But now it has another option for local people. Set up in the former Kirk o'Field Sanctuary, “The Village Square” is a flexible space that will allow people to escape, rest study, work, chat, meet, give, receive, learn and gain support as required. This space is free to use and available to anyone and everyone on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am to 3pm. It has drinks available on a self-serve, donation basis, and will also be able to be used as an exhibition and performance space which will help attract more people and assist with future sustainability. It has a mixture of table/chair and comfortable seating arrangements. Initially it will operate with volunteer led provision, with a strong link to the University especially through the Edinburgh Universities Student Association (EUSA), and with assistance from the Campus Ministry team. As it develops, we will explore sustainable staffing options.
Because of the vast connections within the Charteris Centre, “The Village Square” will be able to signpost people to a range of support, plus representatives will be able to be called upon from Greyfriars Kirk, Grassmarket Community Project, Campus Ministry, CoCo:Counselling in Communities, Edinburgh Street Pastors, Amina:Muslim Women’s Resource Centre, Edinburgh Social Enterprise, CrossReach:Heart for Art, Workplace Chaplaincy, University of Edinburgh, NHS Occupational Therapy, LOOPS (Local Opportunities for Older People) and other groups as they are in the premises.
As well as being a free, open access space, groups can also secure space for their discussions/meetings for a nominal fee, rather than pay for sole use of one of the larger halls in the Centre. This would be ideal for groups who don’t necessarily need private space, but just want to gather people together for a discussion session. This would be priced at 50p per person per hour for groups of 8-25 people. Drinks will remain on a donation basis.
The “Village Square” is not a quiet space, but it is a peaceful place. By encouraging people to come together in one space from different walks of life, we can offer a place of sanctuary from the busyness of life. In addition to creating this new activity, we will continue to develop activities and curated services to be delivered from the Charteris Centre that focus on areas of Wellbeing and Enterprise. This new space will act as a catalyst for development of many of these activities and enable better cross referral between current User Groups.
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