Innovation Exchange

Cafe Solace


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


A series of stakeholder events was held with people in recovery asking them what recovery meant to them. A working definition and theme emerged: ‘giving something back’ and citizens identified a recovery café as a vehicle for giving back and supporting their community. Food poverty, combined with a lack of recovery community support, was identified as a local need. The café aimed to provide a supportive and informal community hub for people to access low cost, high quality food and other support.

Theme: Health and Social Care

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Community members in recovery self-nominated to participate. The group was supported to become a constituted community group, along with governance and project oversight. Skills analysis identified strengths and areas for development and training was provided. Co-production and delivery of café running once a week in Ardrossan. Local services such as Money Matters and Health and Homeless Nurses attend to offer surgeries and signposting. Innovative procurement allows quality three-course meals for less than £2.

Work with service users (former and current). Identify and develop strengths and skills. Facilitate people in recovery giving back to their community and providing aspiration and inspiration to others. Innovating to create and develop resource when traditional approaches are either unsustainable or less than effective. Co- production of a resource by the community for the community.

Since launch in June 2015, Café Solace has served over 1000 customers.


Some  volunteers  have  moved  onto  education,  employment  and training.


The café provides a welcoming and supportive community hub. People in recovery observe and interact with others in recovery and gain inspiration; a number of volunteers have expressed interest having attended the café as a customer.


The café is engaging with people who might otherwise not engage with ‘traditional’ services and has established itself as an asset to the recovery community specifically and the wider community more generally.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Engagement and Communications Officer

North Ayrshire Council

01294 317812

Case study added to site: June 2016

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