Armed forces coffee support organisation goes from strength to strength

Combat2Coffee founder, Nigel Seaman, in his coffee shop.

Combat2Coffee founder, Nigel Seaman. - Credit: Essex Freemasons

Award-winning mental health support organisation Combat2Coffee is going from strength to strength, launching a new van to help expand its services.

Combat2Coffee, founded in 2018, operates two coffee shops in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, providing a space for veterans struggling with mental health challenges. 

Former army veteran and prison officer, Nigel Seaman, founded the organisation after having the idea during a course combatting stress, following his own post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis.

Nigel Seaman, Colin Felton and Chris Lee

Nigel Seaman with Colin Felton, Essex Freemasons Charity Steward and Chris Lee, Member of Lodge XV which originally recommended the charity for a grant. - Credit: Essex Freemasons

Combat2Coffee's shops can be found in Northgate Street, Ipswich, and Guildhall Street, Bury St Edmunds.      

Barista training and qualifications are also provided by the organisation, which as well as helping veterans has established a link with Hollesley Bay Prison to support its community. This allowed Combat2Coffee to continue its work while their coffee shops were closed.

A £34,000 grant, courtesy of the Essex Freemasons Community Fund, has now allowed the organisation to invest in a new van, allowing it to expand services into Essex.

The van will also help to reach those in need who aren't ready to step outside, serving them coffee at their front door.

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Mr Seaman said: “We are here to offer training and development for veterans who may be under a rehabilitation order or are looking for a little extra support.

“We work with former members of the armed forces and their families to train them in new skills and assist those who need it with help to find work placements or outreach support where possible.

“The van, which would not have been possible without the help of local Freemasons, will enable us to reach every part of Essex and help many more former veterans. The grant has made a real difference to our work.”

Provincial charity steward for Essex Freemasons, Colin Felton, said: “Nigel is doing incredible and inspirational work in the community and I am delighted that we have been able to help this charity expand its critical work across Essex.”