A new cafe has been launched in the north-east to help recovering addicts turn their lives around.
The Salvation Army has introduced the Manna Cafe, which will be open on Fridays, at its Citadel headquarters on Aberdeen’s Castlegate.
It will offer quality and affordable food to the community while also providing training for volunteers, some of whom will be recovering addicts.
The idea for the cafe came from Ronnie Boyle, the charity’s specialist drug and alcohol worker.
Social worker Mr Boyle runs the recovery programme which offers people with addiction issues support and an escape route from their struggles.
He is hoping the new cafe, which runs every Friday from 10am to 2pm, will create opportunities to enable people to make positive changes to their lives.
He said: “It’s more than just a cafe. It’s a place of opportunity where people can come along and we will treat them with respect and with dignity.
“We will show them the love that some people don’t get the chance to experience.
“The name of the cafe is taken from the Israelites crossing the desert and the manna from heaven.
“I think it fits well because it’s about offering people various opportunities – with food being one of them.
“It’s a bonding between the church, community and volunteers. But the main focus is to help volunteers who have come through addictions, are struggling to get jobs or haven’t worked for a long time.
“The biggest thing I hope for is that the volunteers benefit from being part of a team, to work and not be judged.”
The cafe will also give a free meal to people who have been released from prison on a Friday.
There will be a reading section, a quiet area and also a laptop and printer which people can use to help find jobs.
Mr Boyle, who is a recovering alcoholic himself, is also appealing for local chefs to volunteer an hour or two of their time each week to assist the cafe.
And he has said there was a growing need for new socks and underwear to help those in need.
Mr Boyle’s work forms part of the charity’s national drug and alcohol strategy, which has also positioned support workers in Falkirk, Greenock and Stirling.
A centre for addiction services and research was set up at Stirling University in 2017 which aims to tackle the issue nationwide.
Anyone who thinks they can help the project can call the Citadel on 01224 579370.