Charity takes delivery of new Rural Coffee Caravan following theft of vehicle last month

The Rural Coffee Caravan has a new vehicle. L-R Paul Curtis (Farnham Leisure), Ann Osborn, Sally Fo

The Rural Coffee Caravan has a new vehicle. L-R Paul Curtis (Farnham Leisure), Ann Osborn, Sally Fogden, Joanne Leek . Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Volunteers who bring coffee and company to isolated rural communities will soon be returning with renewed vigour following an “inspiring” fundraising campaign to replace their stolen vehicle.

The Rural Coffee Caravan has a new vehicle. L-R Paul Curtis (Farnham Leisure), Ann Osborn, Sally Fo

The Rural Coffee Caravan has a new vehicle. L-R Paul Curtis (Farnham Leisure), Ann Osborn, Sally Fogden, Joanne Leek . Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The Rural Coffee Caravan which travels all over Suffolk went missing from its base near Bury St Edmunds on July 9-10.

Just a month after a campaign was launched to raise £25,000 to replace it, the charity picked up their new vehicle from Farnham Leisure in Saxmundham yesterday.

The new caravan is bigger than the old one which will enable the charity to increase its offer, according to director Ann Osborn.

She said although the theft had been traumatic, the publicity from the fundraising campaign had also increased awareness of issues such as loneliness and rural isolation.

“Getting the new caravan means that we don’t have to let anyone down – we can be self supporting again and get back to fulfilling our brief,” she said.

“Out of this awful situation has come a huge wave of positivity and validation for what we are doing. We very quickly became aware that people wanted us back on the road as soon as possible and that has emphasised to us how important our work is seen as.

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“As a result, we are looking forward to getting back on the road with renewed energy, vigour and inspiration.”

As well as the increased awareness, the new larger caravan will bring added benefits to the service, which runs until the end of November.

Mrs Osborn added: “The new caravan will be slightly bigger so on chillier days people will be able to get inside it.

“We also have an area we can use with camera equipment to record experiences with health and social care or chat to people about how they feel about our visits.

“It means we will be able to fulfil invitations where we couldn’t cater before.”

The caravan and its contents were stolen from where it had been stored securely sometime between July 15 and 16. The theft came as a big shock to the charity which has worked across rural Suffolk for 15 years and was set up in 2002 by Sally Fogden to provide mobile support and information to some of the county’s most isolated communities.

Visit the Rural Coffee Caravan website for more information.

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