Rural Coffee Caravan tops Charity Vote

The Rural Coffee Caravan has been named the winner of the Hopkins Homes Suffolk charity vote and will receive the top donation of £7,000.
The campaign received almost 2,500 votes from Suffolk residents who were asked to choose their favourite charity from a shortlist of five. A £10,000 donation from Hopkins Homes will be shared between the three charities who received the most votes.
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FIND (Families in Need) Ipswich and Just42 came second and third in the vote and will receive donations of £2,000 and £1,000 respectively. Additionally, Hopkins Homes will donate £250 to the two remaining charities in support of the excellent work they carry out across the region – Gatehouse and EPIC Dad.

Ann Osborn C.E.O. of The Rural Coffee Caravan said: “Even in normal times, rural residents can feel cut off from the community, particularly if they have limited access to public transport or live in a village that has lost its pub or shop. As the UK adopts measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, loneliness will become an even greater danger to the many elderly residents who are facing a prolonged period of isolation.

“The money from the vote will support us as we work with the communities we visit, and the groups and businesses involved in the Meet up Monday initiative; helping to ensure support networks are in place and accessible to those who might be ill, concerned or otherwise struggling.”

The Rural Coffee Caravan was established in 2003. A small fleet of caravans makes regular visits to rural communities throughout Suffolk. The visits provide tea, coffee, friendship and information to those residents who find travel challenging. The project gives attendees access to knowledge about other voluntary organisations and helps people to establish and build social networks.

Ann continued: “I am so grateful to everyone who voted for us, the money will be used to ensure we can reach out to as many elderly residents as possible and it will make a very tangible difference to the lives of vulnerable people in our communities over the coming months.”

The vote is part of the £500,000 Hopkins Charitable Fund launched in 2017. The fund will see the developer donate half a million pounds to charities and causes throughout Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire over five years.

Joshua Hopkins, of the Hopkins Charitable Fund said: “We had a fantastic response, receiving the highest total we’ve ever had for one of the charity votes – demonstrating how much people across Suffolk want to help and support those in need.

“As communities and individuals face restrictions to help contain the spread of COVID-19 the work of charities such as those involved in the vote will become increasingly important. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting some of the Rural Coffee Caravan’s events and I know first hand how much those who attend the events appreciate and value the social contact and the help on offer.”

The shortlist for the vote was compiled in conjunction with the Suffolk Community Foundation. Stephen Singleton, Chief Executive of Suffolk Community Foundation said: “The vote has been a great way for the shortlisted charities to spread the word about their current initiatives and future projects and it’s been a pleasure to see how engaged many of their supporters have been. The donations will help all the charities to face the additional pressure presented by COVID-19.”

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