The Hollies, a popular community café in Musselburgh, has been given a lifeline by East Lothian Council after facing imminent closure due to financial difficulties.
The Hollies: A not-for-profit charity café
The Hollies is a not-for-profit charity café that provides affordable meals, social activities and volunteering opportunities for the local community. It has been operating on High Street since 2011 and has become a hub for many residents, especially the elderly and vulnerable.
The café relies on donations, grants and fundraising events to cover its running costs, which include rent, utilities, staff wages and food supplies. However, the café has been struggling to secure enough funding in recent years due to increased competition and reduced availability of grants.
The threat of closure: A double blow for the café
Last week, the trustees of The Hollies told STV News that they would be forced to close the café within days if they could not secure enough funding. They said that the rising running costs paired with the difficulties to obtain grants had become too much for them to handle.
They also said that closing The Hollies would be a major blow for the Musselburgh community, as many people rely on the café for their social and emotional well-being. One customer said: “It’s ridiculous closing a place like this down.” Another added: “It is going to be a very sadly missed place.” Mary, who is 93 and previously volunteered at The Hollies, said: “It’s a shame that it’s happening, it really is, it’s shocking.”
The lifeline: A £30,000 grant from East Lothian Council
However, there is good news for The Hollies and its supporters. The café has been granted £30,000 from East Lothian Council’s common good fund, which will allow it to stay open until the beginning of next year. The council said that it was able to revisit the application in light of new information regarding the availability of funds from the previous financial year.
The council also said that it had some concerns about the ongoing viability of The Hollies, but agreed that the grant would provide an opportunity for the board to address these issues going forward. The council also recommended that The Hollies should engage with Volunteer Centre East Lothian (VCEL) and the council’s Economic Development team to develop a sustainable business plan and consider their management arrangements.
The future: A new hope for The Hollies
The Hollies has confirmed the news on its Facebook page and thanked everyone who supported them. It also said that it would provide a further update on the café in the near future.
The grant from the council has given The Hollies a new hope and a chance to continue its valuable service for the community. However, the café still faces many challenges and uncertainties ahead. Will The Hollies be able to secure more funding and become sustainable in the long term? Will it be able to adapt to the changing needs and preferences of its customers? Will it be able to overcome the competition from other cafés and businesses? Only time will tell.