Serenity Cafe at risk of closure

Serenty Cafe, the Recovery cafe could be homeless within months - their lease is up and they can;t afford the new terms.
Serenty Cafe, the Recovery cafe could be homeless within months - their lease is up and they can;t afford the new terms.

A safe haven providing vital support for people in recovery is on the brink of closure unless the charity behind it can secure new city centre premises.

Comas, a small Edinburgh charity, has sent out an urgent plea to help find a new home for its Serenity Cafe – a safe drug and alcohol free community cafe set up and run by volunteers in recovery.

The cafe is based in a commercial space near Holyrood. The tenancy agreement runs out in June and the team at Comas are desperate to set up somewhere new. Fiona Morrison, chief executive of Comas, said it was a major blow, but with the resilience and positivity of the recovery community she was confident they would find something in time.

She said: “It’s vital for the continuity of our services – a lifeline on which so many people in our community depend – that we find alternative suitable accommodation that is affordable and accessible.

“As well as providing a space where people can come together to find the solutions they need, Serenity Café is open to the public, selling a range of modestly-priced meals and snacks. It’s therefore an important source of funding for our charity, as is our excellent event space which we hire out for a wide variety of functions and events.

“We therefore really need mixed-use accommodation which enables us to maintain these revenue-generating resources.”

With less than three months until they must vacate the building at Jackson’s Entry, Comas is looking for accommodation with an area of around 250 square metres including space for its 30-cover café, event space, and offices and meeting rooms.

Comes was established just under ten years ago to support those who may feel disconnected or excluded from society or isolated by health and social issues. The charity helps thousands of people within the local community.

Serenity Café is at the core of the charity’s services and is mostly staffed by and caters for those in recovery. The facility also offers a place of work to many, enabling and empowering them through the opportunity to earn income or take the first steps into volunteering.

Comas is also appealing for financial support to help cover the costs of relocation and start-up expenses.

Comas chair Karen Stevenson is keen to raise awareness of the importance of Serenity Café to Edinburgh’s recovery community. She said: “We love our café and if you were to ask all the individuals who have been involved in our journey, they will explain how much a space like this is needed.

“We can tell you about our first experience of dancing without the use of substances, the first time we brought in the New Year without a drink or the first time we served a latte, which we made ourselves, to a member of the public.

“And we will tell you too about the celebrations we’ve held in our beloved Serenity, from the birthdays of recovery community members to a wedding.”

Donations to the cafe’s cause can be made at www.gofundme.com/saveourserenity.