Lattes beat loneliness as third coffee caravan takes to road

New Rural Coffee Caravan staff Annette Dunning, Diana Patrick and Joe Howarth with the charity’s thi

New Rural Coffee Caravan staff Annette Dunning, Diana Patrick and Joe Howarth with the charity’s third caravan, named ‘Lottie’. Picture: Rural Coffee Caravan - Credit: Rural Coffee Caravan

A mobile campaign to tackle isolation and loneliness in rural villages has brewed up more success with a third Rural Coffee Caravan taking to the road and three new members of staff.

The new vehicle — which has been named "Lottie" — will allow the Harleston-based charity to extend the number of remote villages it visits.

It comes after a £87,000 grant from the Building Connections Fund, a partnership between the Government, Big Lottery Fund and The Co-op Foundation, which also saw the recruitment of Diana Patrick as full time manager for the charity's new Building Connections Project.

Set up in 2002, Rural Coffee Caravan provides mobile information and support services to some of Suffolk's most isolated communities, often where there are no other public meeting places.

Meanwhile a grant from the Warm Homes Fund, via East Suffolk Council, will kick start an energy awareness project addressing fuel poverty and the appointment of Annette Dunning as community engagement and rural energy officer, and Joe Howarth as rural energy officer.

Charity director Ann Osborn said: "By taking on three new members of staff we have effectively doubled in size, so these are very exciting times for Rural Coffee Caravan.

"We remain committed to addressing loneliness and the stress that rural isolation can bring, and we believe that working with other agencies is the best way to do this.

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"Being cold in winter is miserable and no one should have to choose whether to 'heat or eat' so we are very pleased to receive this latest grant and, in partnership with East Suffolk Council, look forward to making a real difference to people's health and wellbeing."

If you would like Rural Coffee Caravan to bring its community café to your village call 01379 855338 or visit