Light at the end of tunnel for closure threatened recovery cafe

Insde serenity busy web

Staff and volunteers at Comas are positive about the future, as the charity looks to secure new premises for its Serenity Cafe

15th May 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

An addiction service which feared closure is feeling positive about the future, as it looks to secure new premises.

The Save Our Serenity campaign was launched last month after charity Comas learned that it would have to move premises for the first time in seven years.

Its Serenity Café, near the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh, is a safe haven for those who are in recovery to relax and seek help.

The fight to create a new home for the café – and office premises for the charity - is continuing, however Comas has identified a potential new home which it hopes could be the perfect setting for its support services.

“We have identified alternative premises but it is not a definite that we are going to get them,” Comas chief executive Fiona Morrison told TFN.

“We have to take part in the bidding process with City of Edinburgh Council now. It’s not too far away from where we are situated now and some of the community members have visited and liked it. It does need a lot of work however.”

The charity is looking to raise funds to meet the costs of the unexpected move, and a crowdfunding campaign has raised more than £1,600 so far. A wide range of fundraising events, from a yoga festival to bake and book sale, have also been organised to help boost its coffers.

Alongside the cost of the unexpected move, one of the biggest challenges for Comas has been finding premises which are suitable for the array of services it provides. Alongside the Serenity Café, the charity hosts addiction meetings, offers one-to-one support and hosts events for the people it helps.

“This is such a different thing to just moving office,” Morrison added. “We can’t just up sticks and move to any office. The café is the crux of the organisation and is key to what we are looking for. We need to go somewhere where we can get up and running immediately, and that can also provide income too.”

Although the requirement to move came as a shock to the charity at first, the process of moving on is one that has been deemed as positive by those who have benefitted from Comas’ help.

“Trying to find new premises has been a challenge, but it’s been very positive,” said one volunteer, who turned to the Serenity Café having battled heroin and alcohol addiction. “We have got so many members who are willing to do our new place up. It’s important that once we get a new place, we can get it up and running.

“There are new people who come in here every day, there are always people that you have never seen before.”

Morrison said that many people that the service helps, and many of the café’s customers, have embraced the call to arms to help save the service.

She said: “In a strange way it has been really energising. It has motivated not just the staff but the community members as well. They realise that people care.

“We cannot stay here but people do not want to see us lose Comas or the Serenity Café.

“Because of the work we do, this could have been a negative experience but it has been very positive. It has brought a real direction and positive atmosphere that this can be a new beginning.”

Those who the service has helped, and continues to help, have been at the centre of trying to save the charity.

The Serenity Café aims to put people in touch with others who have been on similar journeys to recovery, and people who require help arrive on almost a daily basis.

“It’s been a massive part of my recovery, which continues to this day,” said another Comas community member, who the charity has helped to secure their first job in decades. “This feels like your home. It is somewhere where you come and you know you can get support if you need it.

“Somebody is always going to be here to ask you how your day is going, and if they can help they will or point you in the right direction if they can’t help.”