‘We are the medicine that each other needs’ - why the Rural Coffee Caravan volunteers deserve prestigious award

Ann Osborn and founder Sally Fogden of the Rural Coffee Caravan which visits villages across Suffolk

Ann Osborn and founder Sally Fogden of the Rural Coffee Caravan which visits villages across Suffolk to help combat loneliness Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Today the team behind the Rural Coffee Caravan are celebrating after it was announced that their 100 incredible volunteers are set to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Since it started out 16 years ago the Coffee Caravan has made massive progress in combatting loneliness and isolation in the most rural areas of Suffolk.

Director of the Rural Coffee Caravan, Ann Osborn, said: "Loneliness is something we need to keep addressing, we need to overcome it. We have to learn that we are the medicine that each other needs.

"This award is a wonderful thing for our volunteers, I am so proud of them we couldn't do this without them."

In a typical year the Rural Coffee Caravan can make as many as 222 visits to villages across Suffolk - providing coffee, tea, cake and a chat. Volunteers help out in a number of ways from towing the caravan to baking cakes.


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"The best thing about the charity is that anyone can contribute, it doesn't matter if it is once or twice a year or once or twice a week.

"We are going out to be nice to people - everything we do is to promote kindness," said Ann.

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On Twitter supporters of the coffee caravan shared their delight at the announcement that the volunteers had won the prestigious volunteering award.

Ann said: "The Suffolk network on Twitter is so strong - we're all there to support each other.

"Suffolk is a very caring county and I hope this encourages people to nominate other volunteers in the county."

Ann Osborn and founder Sally Fogden of the Rural Coffee Caravan which visits villages across Suffolk

Ann Osborn and founder Sally Fogden of the Rural Coffee Caravan which visits villages across Suffolk to help combat loneliness Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Karin Norman-Butler, who nominated the group, says: "Suffolk is so lucky to have the Rural Coffee Caravan. Their importance to our community was demonstrated in 2017 when the caravan was stolen.

"Within 21 days a public appeal had raised enough to buy a new caravan, fit it out and have it back on the road within six weeks - a reflection on how much Suffolk people value this charity."

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service announcement comes at the start of Volunteers' Week 2019. If you would like to nominate someone for the award or want more information please contact Judith Shallow DL on 07866 547277.

Read more: Suffolk celebrates a year of Meet Up Mondays coffee mornings

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