Rural Coffee Caravan team hit by thieves will be back on the road next week

The Rural Coffee Caravan holds a village event. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The Rural Coffee Caravan holds a village event. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Offers of help and support have been pouring in to help a Suffolk charity targeted by thieves – and the service is determined to be back on the road next week.

Ann Osborn, project manager of The Rural Coffee Caravan. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Ann Osborn, project manager of The Rural Coffee Caravan. Picture: SIMON PARKER

The Rural Coffee Caravan, which visits villages across the county to support those suffering from loneliness and isolation, was stolen when the farm where it was stored at Great Ashfield, near Bury St Edmunds, was broken into.

While still hoping that the caravan might yet be found, organisers of the service say they will carry on – and will be in Wingfield on Tuesday for their next event.

Ann Osborn, director of the Rural Coffee Caravan project, said the charity had been inundated with messages of sympathy, people asking how they can help and offers of help.

These have included the East of England Co-op offering the use of its exhibition trailer and Suffolk Family Carers offering use of its bus, and people offering to set up crowdfunding initiatives.

She said: “Our heads are spinning at the moment and we need to sit down, review all the offers of help we have received and figure out the way forward.

“We have had the most enormously gratifying amount of support which has brought some balance to the horridness of the theft and our faith in human nature is undiminished.

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“We will probably move forward with some form of fundraising because it may take a while to get the insurance sorted out for the caravan.

“We don’t want to have to cancel any more events and we will be at Wingfield on Tuesday. We are carrying on and this has revitalised us – it is spurring us on.”

The caravan was taken overnight Sunday/Monday and police have issued an appeal for anyone who has seen it since or knows where it has been taken to contact them on 101.

It carries the charity’s name and logo on the side. Inside it held items such as the charity’s merchandise, like mugs, leaflets and blankets, as well as around 20 chairs and four tables used at events.

The service is a lifeline for people in villages, especially those with limited transport, or where the village shop or pub or post office has gone, and offers a place where peoople can get together and meet and find out about organisations and the services they offer.