Community cafe shuts up shop

The Harbour Howff in St Monans.
The Harbour Howff in St Monans.

THE long-running Harbour Howff community cafe in St Monans has shut its doors for the last time

While there had been talk of a last-ditch drive to save the once-busy hub of community activity, organisers had to face the fact there was not enough cash in the coffers to keep it afloat over the quiet winter months.

Despite 2011/12 being its best year to date, the cafe had an exceptionally poor summer.

The cafe had been run in partnership with ENeRGI, a local group which provides services for people who have had mental health problems and their carers. Volunteers and placements from Elmwood College and Community Payback had supported the one part-time member of staff.

It opened when the community, determined to keep some kind of facility in the village, rallied round after the demise of a previous operation. A steering group was formed to work with ENeRGI and the Howff opened as a social enterprise.

But the writing was on the wall a few months ago when Elaine Fox, a project manager for ENeRGI, explained that it would need a core of around 20 volunteers, all willing to commit to regular hours each week, to keep in going.

As this did not materialise, the Howff no choice but to shut up shop last week and the premises, which are owned by Fife Council, will be vacated by December 4.

“Fortunately, we have been able to find spaces for the volunteers and employment placements at the drop-in centre at 32 East Street, as well as a position for the part-time worker,” Elaine said.