Briefing for Councillors – The closure of COMAS /Serenity Cafe

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Below is a Council briefing on the closure of Serenity Cafe.

Officers supporting the Edinburgh Alcohol and Drug Partnership were informed by email on 2 November 2018 that COMAS, a third sector organisation supporting people in recovery, had made the decision to liquidate the company following a recent financial review. The email stated that the Board and CEO had considered all options including administration, Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) and other funding solutions but given the overall financial position there was no alternative but to cease trading.

COMAS staff were also informed of the decision on 2nd November and then issued with redundancies on 6 November, with the premises (Serenity Cafe and Comas HQ) closed on the same day.

EADP was not made aware of the extent of financial difficulties COMAS was experiencing and received no prior indication the Board was considering this course of action. In fact, the EADP had recently supported COMAS to find new accommodation for its social enterprise, the Serenity Café.

COMAS received funding of £60k per year from Edinburgh Alcohol and Drugs Partnership (EADP).

Services provided by COMAS included:

  • Serenity Café – a social enterprise providing a safe drug and alcohol free social space open to members, volunteers and the public alike.
  • Access to trained volunteer recovery coaches and financial inclusion workers.
  • Support including learning programs, social/hobby groups as well as recovery support groups
  • A specific women’s project – Womanzone

The closure of COMAS leaves a gap in support for people in recovery but the EADP will engage with the drugs and alcohol community to see if there are options to retain elements of the services previously provided by COMAS or provide alternative supports.

 

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