Community cafe makes urgent funding plea to prevent closure

Non-profit The Hollies will have to shut in the first week of November unless owners secure thousands in funding.

A much-loved East Lothian community café says it faces closure within days if it can’t secure thousands of pounds to help with running costs. 

The Hollies in Musselburgh, a not-for-profit charity, has been struggling to deal with rising running costs and has been unsuccessful in applications for several rounds of grant funding. 

It will have to shut the doors for good in the first week of November unless a large cash injection can be secured. 

Most costs are associated to general maintenance of the high street building where the Hollies is based, as well as staff wages, food and energy bills.  

A service offered by Hollies which has received much praise is the lunch club which runs every weekday. 

Elderly and vulnerable members of the community are given transport to and from the café and can enjoy a three-course meal for £10. 

But Rosemary Moffatt who is a trustee says many of those who attend get much more.  

She said: “One lady who was coming in, in tears, she didn’t even want anything to eat, I think she just wanted to come and talk to someone about what was going on in her personal life. 

Tracey Scott has worked at the cafe for the last two and a half years

“I’ve actually ended up getting involved a bit more in her personal life, in the sense that I’ve been trying to talk to social work for her.” 

Staff also help members of the lunch club with a number of tasks, including taking them to the bank and reading letters for a lady who is blind.  

Tracey Scott has worked at the café for the last two-and-a-half years, she describes it as “a lovely place to work”. 

“Our customers are so nice to us,” she added.

“We have the time where we can hear their stories and try and help them any way we can. 

“There’s a lot of customers who come in from the beginning by themselves, and they’ve managed to form a group, and start speaking to people. 

“A place where anyone can walk in”. 

It’s believed a number of options are being explored to find a way of saving the Hollies, with local councillors also stepping it to see what the local authority might be able to do.  

Customers all say seeing the Hollies close would be devastating.

One 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.” 

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