Stories are powerful. They make connections between people, places and the past. 

Sadly, some people have lost that connection. Those in vulnerable communities can feel cut off from their city and their stories. 

They live here, but the stories are not theirs.

This can happen to anyone, such as those helped by the Grassmarket Community Project (GCP) and in our local schools in isolated communities.

Dislocation from their culture holds them back and is caused by lack of money, confidence or opportunity - made acute by the pandemic and cost of living crisis. 

Stories can help them to recover. And now you can help too.

Your donations will buy GCP members and vulnerable local kids the same 5-star tour as you enjoy - free of charge to them, offered at an exclusive discount by attractions, paid for by you.  

Read on for more.

Reconnecting the Disconnected

Every £100 raised will pay for a private 5 star, 3 hour tour and attraction visit free of charge to GCP members or local school kids from the most isolated communities in Edinburgh.  All ‘Our Stories, Your City’ partners will provide their tour and attraction entry at an exclusively discounted rate, covered by your donations.

Stories can help people to heal, can rebuild confidence  and pride, and restore a sense of ‘home’.  

Your donation will give those cut off from Edinburgh's culture a warm welcome back into their Museums, their Palace and their Castle.  They will hear and own their stories and their city again. 

Your ticket purchase and donations will also support local Living Wage jobs in our attractions.  Tourism suffered greatly during the pandemic with the loss of visitors, money and team members.  Whilst you connect with Edinburgh on tour, know that you're helping local businesses recover at the same time as reconnecting GCP members and school kids with their stories and city.

Supporting Vulnerable Communities

Grassmarket Community Project are long-standing friends of Mercat Tours and support people who are homeless, have physical and mental health issues, disabilities, alcohol and drug problems, and who are disconnected from society.

Bringing practical help to this important charity and its people is the main objective of this project. It will have a positive impact on GCP members wellbeing.

If you are close to someone who has;

  • suffered mental health problems
  • experienced loss
  • been a victim of abuse
  • felt isolated
  • faced the challenges of substance misuse
  • experienced homelessness
  • lived in poverty

...you’ll know that these are issues which could happen to anyone. The Covid pandemic has had an even greater impact on  vulnerable people through health inequalities, isolation, and social exclusion.

All GCP members can access the 5 star tours free of charge thanks to your donations, and will receive support and help to feel safe and included.

A Force for Good

Book a tour, include a donation to our project and you’ll be proving that tourism can, as we believe, be a force for good.

Mercat Tours, in partnership with some of the most outstanding visitor attractions in Edinburgh, is delighted to have created this innovative ‘Our Stories, Your City’ project - a simple way to enjoy your own tour of Edinburgh and donate the same to others who need it most.

With your help, award-winning Mercat Storytellers will lead GCP members and local school kids on small-group walking tours into premium heritage attractions including Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Gladstone’s Land, the Georgian House, and the National Museum of Scotland.
 

Breaking Down Barriers

We believe that - through our work and with your support - we can break down barriers, reduce harm, and improve social wellbeing caused by the pandemic and cost of living crisis.

Why?

To enable the most isolated to explore their attractions, to build their confidence and self-respect.

This demonstrates that tourism and culture can and should be inclusive and responsible.

 

VisitScotland Regional Director Neil Christison says of the project;

 

“This fantastic initiative from Mercat Tours will give young people the chance to learn and explore the city of Edinburgh and gain a real insight into its people and history. It is a great example of tourism as a force for good, showing that the impact of tourism spreads far beyond the industry itself, not only benefitting the economy but also local communities and people’s wellbeing.”

The Grassmarket Community Project

Mercat Tours has long supported the Grassmarket Community Project, an organisation which takes an innovative and inclusive approach to creating a community and providing sanctuary and support to people dealing with multiple complex issues. These include homelessness, mental/physical health problems, learning difficulties, poverty, substance misuse, physical abuse and more.

You can find out more about the Project, our charity partner, here.

Grassmarket Community Project
Grassmarket Community Project
Grassmarket Community Project
Grassmarket Community Project
Grassmarket Community Project

Grassmarket Community Project

Grassmarket Community Project

Grassmarket Community Project

Grassmarket Community Project

Grassmarket Community Project

Our Partners

The following visitor attractions, some of the premium in Edinburgh, share our belief that tourism can be responsible, ethical and inclusive, and that access to culture should not be limited to certain sections of society. We are delighted that they are partners in this project and look forward to introducing you to their stories.

How You Can Support Us

If you’d like to support our vision of responsible tourism as a force for good, there are two ways you can help.

First, book one of our tours. When you make your payment, we ask that you add a donation to 'Our Stories, Your City' project. There’s more about the tours here.

Secondly, if you can’t make a tour but believe in our aims, you can make a donation below.

We are extremely grateful for your support. Thank you.

Please choose a donation amount

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