Ann Osborn, Rural Coffee Caravan

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Just existing to help other people

We have donated over 8,000 teabags through our Co-op Cuppa scheme, helping the Rural Coffee Caravan tackle rural isolation in their communities.

Getting information in rural communities isn’t easy. Isolation, even loneliness, can be a problem. And that’s what The Rural Coffee Caravan was set up to tackle across Suffolk.

“Using our actual caravan, village halls or any similar facility, we get local people together over tea, coffee and cake, give out a wide range of information about organisations and the services they offer and just let people meet and talk to each other.” explains Project Manager Ann Osborn. “We just exist to help other people.”

“This care in the community ethos is one we very much share with the East of England Co-op through its Cuppa scheme. In fact we often operate together, helping each other at events. The Co-op has also been very generous with funding and continues to support us. It’s a great partnership.”

Knowing what’s going on in isolated rural communities isn’t always easy. It’s especially difficult if access to transport is limited or the village shop, pub or post office has gone.  Coffee Caravan events attract a broad spread of people who might not usually attend social functions - old, young, families, single mums and dads.

Last year its 50 volunteers set up 185 events, attracting nearly 6,000 local residents. The information it imparted was as varied as its community spread and covered just about everything you could think of; from Samaritans to housing support, from animal rescue to community safety.

“We are literally just a vehicle to bring people together, to share knowledge, friendship and lives.”