Suffolk Business Awards 2021: Changing Lives Special Recognition Award winner

Left to right: David Parfrey (sponsor – Norwich Research Park), Kara Thurkettle, Lisa Brosnan and Nigel Seaman

Left to right: David Parfrey (sponsor – Norwich Research Park), Kara Thurkettle, Lisa Brosnan and Nigel Seaman - Credit: Matthew Potter Photographer and Videographer 

Combat2Coffee, a community interest start-up with coffee shops across East Anglia, has been named winner of the Changing Lives Special Recognition Award, sponsored by Norwich Research Park, at the Suffolk Business Awards 2021.

Founded in 2018 by retired serviceman Nigel Seaman, Combat2Coffee helps veterans who may be in custody, under a rehabilitation order or in need of extra support.

After being diagnosed with PTSD linked to service, Nigel decided to use his fascination with coffee as a vehicle to support others. 

He worked with another veteran who roasts coffee beans to create the Combat2Coffee Recovery Blend, with the slogan “Roasted, Toasted and Poured by Veterans”.

The company now offers barista training and support to armed force veterans, equipping them with the skills and confidence that will lead to a greater chance of employment.  

The judges praised Combat2Coffee for its “soul” and putting the individual at the heart of everything, adding that the company is now on the road to being a national success story. 

Nigel Seaman, founder of Combat2Coffee, said: “I’m completely overwhelmed. We have a common goal to help others. I want to spread the message around mental health; I don’t want others to go through what I went through.

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“This is the start of a massive journey and it’s great to see the difference in the community already.”

About the sponsor

Norwich Research Park is home to a wealth of world-class research. Its 3,000 scientists and clinicians work in some of the areas of greatest importance to society today – food and health.

The unique mix that blends a major university teaching hospital with a leading university and internationally-important research institutes creates an unbroken chain, each part aiding the progression of another, where its people are gaining new knowledge of soil, plants, therapeutics and diagnostics, food, nutrition, health and healthy ageing, all underpinned by world-leading genomics.  

The finalists

Emmaus Suffolk  
Emmaus Suffolk runs social enterprises in Ipswich and Felixstowe that give people the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience while accessing the support services of a charity. This support includes benefits and job-hunting advice, self-esteem and confidence building, budgeting and housing advice. The charity also runs workshops and drop-in support hubs. 

Mackman Group 
Founded in 2003, Mackman Group is a research, branding and marketing agency based in Sudbury. It works with leading brands around the UK and also supports non-profits on a pro bono basis through its membership of Suffolk ProHelp. Judges praised the company’s ethos of developing its people and giving back to the local community.  

The judges praised Restitute for giving a voice to third-party victims of crime, whose loved ones may have suffered unthinkable trauma. Founded by Cath Pickles, herself a third-party victim of crime, the organisation offers training, commissioning and other support to ensure families across Norfolk and Suffolk can recover. 

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