Disaster for Rural Suffolk as Coffee Caravan Stolen

Ann Osborn, Project Manager of the Rural Coffee Caravan, poses in front of the (now stolen) Caravan

Do you, or anyone you know, live in the scattered parishes and towns of Suffolk? Do you find it hard to get the information and friendship you want in the community you live in, maybe because of lack of transport or old age? Well, a shining beacon of hope for people like yourselves has been taken away in one fell swoop.

The Rural Coffee Caravan, since it’s inception in 2003, took it upon themselves to address the problem of rural isolation and promote community spirit by travelling around the various towns and villages on request of the residents in need. Providing not only delicious hot beverages, but a sense of community and friendship, it proved to be an instant success and, in the years since, the list of agencies wanting their services continues to grow.

Located in Great Ashfield, near Bury St Edmunds, the caravan in question was stored behind a barn in a field, with the thieves having to break through the gates to gain access, hitch up the trailer and make off with the caravan and all contents. Thought to be a targeted attack, Ann, the Project Manager, expressed her disbelief at the theft:

It feels so very harsh that a charity should be targeted in this way but it has happened so we must now find a way to move forward.
It feels as though the whole of Suffolk has been looking for it but our guess is that, because of the branding, it was hidden up very quickly.
Ann and the team, standing in front of the very distinctive caravan

Thankfully, the community spirit that the Coffee Caravan helped to spread has now been reciprocated with massive effect, with many pledges from local users and businesses to help get the business back to doing what they do best, with East of England Coop offering use of it’s exhibition trailer and Suffolk Family Carers the use of its bus to tie over the period of uncertainty.

In addition, a crowdfunding page has been set up by the East of England Coop to allow the community to help. This crowdfunding will help the business get back on its wheels, with a target set at £25,000 to include purchase of a new caravan, as well as the furnishings, mugs, leaflets, coffee making equipment and the rest of the materials needed to run this charity as well as they have been in the past. The page can be found here, at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ruralcoffeecaravan

The community, however devastated, can expect the charity to be running at full speed as early as next week, with Ann showing that their spirits have not been dampened following the incident:

We don’t want to have to cancel any more events and we will be at Wingfield on Tuesday. We are carrying on and this has revitalised us — it is spurring us on.

So please show your support to Ann and the team, pledge what you can, because I don’t know about you, but I get pretty aggy when I have my coffee taken away.