Rural Coffee Caravan providing a ‘safe place in a rural place’

The Rural Coffee Caravan is coming to a village near you and is about to get back on the road.

And plans are being made for the relaunch of the Meet Up Mondays event when coronavirus restrictions are set to be relaxed on Suffolk Day, June 21.

Staff at the charity which is based at Weybread, near Diss, have been working tirelessly finding creative ways to keep people connected socially whilst physically distanced. And they have also been helping food banks and vaccine centres.

But now they are planning to get out and about with the caravan to the rural towns, villages and hamlets in Suffolk in its bid to support communities.

It helps people who are isolated across the county to access services and information to improve their lives, health and wellbeing, and to bring people together, empowering and strengthening rural communities.

It works to alleviate loneliness and social isolation by providing occasions that engender conversations, leading to people feeling more a part of their community.

The service is free and accessible to everyone and can be booked simply by logging onto or telephone 01379 855338.

Ann Osborn, the organisation’s chief executive officer, said the caravan already has bookings throughout May and June in Polstead, Aldringham, Finningham, Redlingfield, Wingfield, Great Bricett, Combs, Somersham, Benhall, Sotterley, and Ampton and Timworth, but is keen to hear from other communities wishing for a visit. Slots are available Monday to Friday, 10am to noon or 2pm to 4pm.

It is also hoped that when pubs, cafes and tea rooms reopen fully Meet Up Mondays will recommence.

Ann said: “At the moment we are all busy trying to work out the visits but the message from us is we are back out and about and will be providing a safe place in a rural place.

“We need to be Covid secure and we are asking people to try and bring their own cups and chairs as well and we are really looking forward to getting back out again to see everybody.

“We understand that some people will feel a bit nervous about being out but we are keen to get out to villages and be the friend that we can be.”

For outdoor visits all is needed is permission to park and space to set out tables and chairs, with easy access for everyone and enough room to accommodate appropriate social distancing.

For indoor visits, get in touch to discuss ways to manage the visit, adhering to Covid-19 secure government guidelines.

The Rural Coffee Caravan provides free refreshments and has access to a raft of information on local and national agencies, organisations, activities and support services.

Meet Up Mondays is a chance for those people living alone and feeling isolated to meet up at one of their local venues and to have a chat and get any advice and help they need.

It could be a new mum, a home worker, out of work or an elderly person or couple who have started to feel isolated and offers a chance for the venues to utilise their premises.

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