Will coffee house close?

The future of a popular Arbroath social enterprise cafe has been placed in doubt after the owners confirmed they are looking to offload the premises.

The Arbroath Herald was contacted this week with concerns that Darling’s Coffee Shop on the High Street, which is run by ENABLE Scotland, was under threat.

ENABLE Scotland have confirmed that the social enterprise project, which helps young people with learning difficulties to enhance their employability, will not have a future with the charity.

A spokesman for ENABLE said: “ENABLE Scotland is looking to find a sustainable future for Darling’s Coffee Shop and we feel that new ownership would provide a more supportable financial model.

“We are currently in discussion with a number of parties and hope to be able to put in place new management structures that will ensure a smooth transition for everyone concerned.

“These discussions cover a wide range of options for the future management of Darling’s, including selling it as a commercially viable business.

“We will continue to deliver these vital services until new owners/managers are found.”

Angus South MSP Graeme Dey is keen to ensure the project continues. He said: “This will be a very unsettling and concerning time for those working at Darlings and their families.

“I have already raised with ENABLE the importance of ensuring that this venture has a future under new ownership or management.

“My understanding is ENABLE are looking to withdraw by the conclusion of financial year 2015-16. There is therefore a degree of urgency about the situation.

“I hope to learn of progress being made towards securing the future of Darlings in discussions I am to be having with ENABLE Chief Executive Theresa Shearer next week.”

Darling’s Coffee Shop opened in the summer of 2012, at the time ENABLE Scotland manager Doreen Walkinshaw described its purpose: Project Manager Doreen Walkinshaw from ENABLE Scotland explained: “Darling’s Coffee Shop will deliver life transforming employment and opportunities for young people who have a learning disability in Angus as well as serve wonderful food and drink to our customers. In addition it will support our stakeholder organisations in education, the voluntary and statutory sectors to increase their knowledge of effective transition models for young people, achieving a lasting culture change that raises expectations and aspirations.”

Are you a Darling’s Coffee Shop user? Are you affected by this turn of events? Let us know.