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Rural Coffee Caravan wins £87,000 in funding for third mobile van and two new staff members

PUBLISHED: 19:02 22 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:15 28 December 2018

The team from Rural Coffee Caravan with high sheriff George Vestey Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The team from Rural Coffee Caravan with high sheriff George Vestey Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

The campaign against isolation and loneliness in Suffolk has had a welcome boost - after the Rural Coffee Caravan won a bid for more than £87,000 of funding for a third mobile van and two more staff members.

Ann Osborn and founder Sally Fogden   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAnn Osborn and founder Sally Fogden Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Suffolk charity has successfully bid for a slice of the ‘Building Connections Fund’ - a partnership between the Government, Big Lottery Fund and The Co-op Foundation set up in response to the Jo Cox Commission on loneliness.

The £87,800 will mean the charity can extend the number of remote villages it visits across the county - reaching even more people suffering from loneliness and isolation.

Ann Osborn, manager of the Rural Coffee Caravan, said “What welcome news to start 2019 on a high note.

“While there’s still a long way to go to reduce all isolation and loneliness across Suffolk, our team works hard to ‘do our bit’ to help make positive connections with lonely people every day, both on visits and with the Meet up Mondays initiative in partnership with a network of pubs, cafes and other hospitality venues who host regular Monday coffee morning drop ins.

Ann Osborn at the Suffolk Show 2018 with the Rural Coffee Caravan Picture: SAM DAWESAnn Osborn at the Suffolk Show 2018 with the Rural Coffee Caravan Picture: SAM DAWES

“We know from feedback that our caravan visits can make a huge difference to people who would otherwise feel alone or would struggle with fuel poverty.”

The Rural Coffee Caravan looks to combat loneliness by visiting villages in the county where there are often no other public services nearby such as village halls, pubs, post offices and shops.

The caravan provides a welcoming place for people to meet up for a coffee and a chat as well as a place to share information and refer people to support agencies.

The funding follows soon after the charity was highlighted as an example of best practice in a Government report, published in October, aimed at tackling rural isolation.

Ms Osborn said loneliness is a wider issue than just helping someone on their own.

“The one thing that is so important with loneliness id that it doesn’t just affect the individual,” she said.

“It is heartbreaking for the individual but affects the community as well.
“You end up creating residential areas of strangers.”

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