Pull the bow to open!

Yesterday I had the pleasure to be invited to officially open the new Coffee Caravan by pulling on the bow of the celebratory green ribbon across its door and help launch the Coffee Caravan’s CHAI programme.

Me and the Coffee Caravan Team being photograghed for the EADT

Quite a simply idea really, take a caravan and set up on a village green and serve a cup of Tea or Coffee to the community and by doing so help to tackle rural isolation and reduce loneliness by helping people access services, providing links and signposting them to help and information.

The funding for the charity’s second caravan, well more of a motor home really, is of itself a good news story as its money granted to Suffolk by Government for the good results of a number of initiatives and is provided as a Performance Grant.

Last year the Care, Health and Independence Partnership Board I chair, hence the invitation, asked for bids for the monies with the remit of increasing Rural access to care services and the team at Coffee Caravan Charity was successful and we agreed to provide them with funding of £113,700 to expand their services over the next 18 months, to be spent on buying a new motor home, so that they can run the programme in the winter as well as the summer which was all they could do with their older towing caravan, and for the project to be run with one paid part time project worker, who I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday and one administrator.

The Caravan will be travelling all over the county and will be active in Mid Suffolk, Waveney, Suffolk Coastal, Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury and makes an average of 15 visits a month, where people can access information and amongst other things have taster sessions for community meals (meals on wheels), a try before you buy kind of think.

At the more strategic level, the visits help in the rural communities in which so many of us live here in Suffolk by bringing people together and helping create support mechanisms and thus stronger communities. The visits also aim to encourage local involvement and volunteering which then brings knock on benefits for the community and the volunteers. They also encouraged villages to set up their own events, e.g. coffee mornings; have been successful in introducing neighbours to each other;
bringing issues that matter to local communities to them – e.g. housing, police links, falls prevention work; as well as improved links with local authorities.

Promoting the Project on Anglia TV News

The launch venue was fittingly chosen at the new Bruisyard Village hall, firstly as it provided the perfect venue for other organisations to join the caravan to show local residents other services that they could access, and secondly because it was on a previous visit that the founders of the village hall got the information and support they needed to get the ball rolling that has resulted in such a great community facility and venue for the village being built.

I am especially pleased to support this highly successful service with the grant as, in the face of the cuts from central government that are surely coming, without us working in new ways such as this where the county provides core funding and then people go and help others, we will struggle to cope to meet the needs of Suffolk Residents without resorting to raising Council Tax beyond the small rises that we are proud to have delivered since the Conservatives took control of Suffolk and are determined for that to continue.

Anyone for another cup of Tea?!

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Lance Stanbury on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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