New Combat2Coffee shop ready to open - a place to meet new friends
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
A mental health and well being café, Combat2Coffee, will be opening next week in Bury St Edmunds.
The café will be operating out of the Constitutional Club in the town centre and hopes to offer anyone the opportunity to have a chat and, if needed, be signposted to support.
Combat2Coffee, of which there are now several in Suffolk, was founded by ex-soldier Nigel Seaman who was able to combine his passion for talking about mental health and prison rehabilitation.
Thanks to the Royal Anglian veteran, residents at Hollesley Bay Prison are being trained to become baristas at the Combat2Coffee roasting house and shop based there.
To help launch the newest café fellow former Royal Anglian soldiers Major Ian Robinson, Major David Granfield and Captain Tony Buff raised more than £8,000 by tackling all 15 of the mountains over 3,000ft in Wales in 24 hours, which they also did in memory of a close friend who died.
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Major Robinson, who will be volunteering at the café, said: "People have realised that community is very important, that supporting each other is very very important.
"That's the idea to try and make sure that people who might be having a difficult time, don't get any worse perhaps might get better by coming and chatting to people and meeting new friends."
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The new café has received lots of support from the local community, the council and businesses, from cash donations to having a kitchen redone.
It will also be hosting an NHS support group for veterans and will also be freely offering its services to any other support groups that may wish the use its facilities.
"We're all about, if you're feeling a bit lonely or just want someone to talk to come in here have a coffee have a chat you can meet some new people," added Major Robinson.
"If you feel as though you might need some mental health support we can put you in touch with that. It's sometimes easier to come and ask for help in that environment than perhaps having to go one the telephone or even see your GP.
"I think in some cases the pandemic showed us, that's all people need. To feel as though they've got a few friends around them."
The official opening takes place on Thursday, October 7.