Rural coffee caravan is chosen for a golden wedding blessing

Residents of Redlingfield in Suffolk are invited to gather at the Rural Coffee Caravan at the Village Green on Wednesday 1st July, from 10 am – 12 noon, to witness the Golden Wedding blessing of villagers David and Jacqueline Love. 

The blessing ceremony will take place in the open air (the weather forecast is a heatwave!) led by The Reverend Canon Sally Fogden. Sally is one of the founders of the Rural Coffee Caravan and she was honoured with an MBE in 2004 for her Services to Rural Affairs in East Anglia.

David Love said: “I’m a longstanding volunteer with the Rural Coffee Caravan, and Jacqueline and I wanted to apply the spirit of the charity’s work by extending an open invitation to all 144 residents of Redlingfield, to join us in celebrating our special day. Volunteering with the Rural Coffee Caravan helps me to get out, stay active and meet lots of interesting people so I know from personal experience what vital services it offers to rural communities in Suffolk.” 

The Rural Coffee Caravan was set up in 2003 and is a registered charity providing a mobile support service to some of Suffolk’s most isolated villages, often where there is no hall or other meeting place, shop, pub or public amenities. Its purpose is to help eliminate the stress caused by rural isolation, by connecting communities in ways that help to end loneliness. 

Rural Coffee Caravan runs events throughout the year where people meet for conversation and information over good coffee and homemade cake.  It also provides a mobile information service via its countywide network of almost 100 volunteers in host villages.  The team signposts visitors to vital support agencies when someone is in need of particular help or specialist advice, then follows up to see how they got on.  The information provided by the Rural Coffee Caravan has already helped many local people to gain access to welfare benefits, support services and information.  In one case it played a fundamental part in the village of Bruisyard’s decision to build a village hall. 

Some villagers choose to host special events such as a “Big Lunch”, a music-led “Memory Lane Afternoon Tea”, or a “Golden Age Fair” that might be delivered in partnership with other local charities or support agencies.

Now with a new and much larger caravan, the charity first started out with occasional visits to rural communities in Mid Suffolk and during the summer months only. Since then it has spread across Suffolk and its popularity continues to increase. More and more villages want the Rural Coffee Caravan to visit and the list of agencies wanting their information taken out to rural Suffolk continues to grow.

There is now a much-needed second vehicle in operation, a campervan, which visits village halls and coffee mornings year-round.

More information about the Rural Coffee Caravan can be found at www.ruralcoffeecaravan.org.uk

Watch what happens at a typical village visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Csi9-QcIb4

Find out how Rural Coffee Caravan helps to end loneliness in Suffolk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hmz5Z7ccv08

This picture shows the recent “ribbon cutting” ceremony on the new Rural Coffee Caravan vehicle, launched officially at the AGM in May 2015 by the charity’s patron, Stephen Miles (on the right). With him, left to right, are Ann Osborn (Director of the Charity) and her colleague Garry Simmonds (Community Development Officer).

By Helen Oldfield on June 29th, 2015

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