AN ANTI-POVERTY campaigner and best-selling author is headlining a three-day festival promoting recovery.

Darren McGarvey, better known by his stage name Loki, is among those heading to Dunbar for the Recovery Festival.

The three-day event starts next Friday (September 16) at noon and continues with a wide mix of events over 10 venues until next Sunday evening.

All of the events are free, open to all and include information sessions, creative workshops, live music, talks, surf therapy, wellbeing sessions and much more.

The festival has been funded by MELDAP (Midlothian and East Lothian Drug and Alcohol Partnership) and is being organised and delivered by community group The Ridge with the help and support of local organisations.

Many people, families and communities live with the effects of substance use and the 2021 statistics for Scotland are stark:

l One in four people has mental health problems;

l There were 753 suicides;

l 1,330 people died from drug misuse;

l 1,245 people died from alcohol-related conditions;

l One in five people in Scotland lives in poverty.

The Dunbar-based charity works within the community to help people reach their full potential.

Amanda Doig, The Ridge’s support team manager, said: “Today’s figures show that recovery work is more important than ever and we think it’s time to talk more, draw people in and highlight what is available.

“We’ll be showcasing innovative work that encourages and supports recovery and hear directly from people who are navigating their own recovery journey.

“The aim of the festival is to smash stigma and amplify the success of those in recovery and a supportive community is a vital part in making that happen.We are delighted to enjoy the ongoing support from the people of Dunbar and outlying villages.”

The festival opens with creative workshops and an information session at The Ridge Recovery Cafe, on the town’s High Street, while Stenton Village Hall will host a partner event on the same day.

Loki appears at the Battery next Saturday, followed by an evening of live music from local bands.

Next Saturday afternoon, a live speakers’ session at St Anne’s Church Hall starts at 2pm, with talks from people with real-life experience of recovery and stories about what has helped them.

Experts in various aspects of recovery will also contribute and there will be acoustic music as well.

Breakfast next Saturday is served from 10am until 2pm thanks to the Food Share organisation (previously Dunbar Foodbank) based in Dunbar Parish Church Hall, and recovery-related agencies will be available to chat about what they do at the Recovery Cafe, from noon to 2pm.

Next Sunday, the emphasis is on fun, celebration and hope, with a family day at the Empire’s Close Garden.

There will be lots to do and try out, including yoga, drumming, photography, art and cookery demonstrations, as well as street food and music.

For more information, go to