Charitable coffee on the hoof!
Over just one weekend, a 40-year-old horse trailer has been converted into a mobile coffee bar by Combat2Coffee, a group of volunteers from the veterans community, with the aim to raise funds for military charities Help for Heroes and Combat Stress.
Combat2Coffee was started by Army veteran Nigel Seaman, who served in the Royal Anglian Regiment. His not-for-profit business idea is to provide barista training to veterans so they can operate mobile coffee bars as stand-alone businesses. (To read more about the current popularity – and profitability – of other such street food (and drink) enterprises, take a look at this issue’s cover story, here.)
In order to convert the horse trailer, Nigel brought together a group of volunteers – 18 current and former Service men and women – to replace the flooring, build serving counters, and fit power and water supplies. Some of the volunteers, who all live in Suffolk and north Essex, have experienced post-traumatic stress following service in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Says Nigel, ‘Working together rekindled some of the happier memories, judging from the camaraderie that developed throughout the day and the banter at the barbecue after the work had finished.’
Benchmarx Ipswich, B&Q Ipswich, Electric Center Ipswich and Keyline Builders Colchester all generously donated the materials needed for the project, which is the second mobile unit for Combat2Coffee who last year converted a retro caravan in Colchester. It is also working with partner organisations including local councils to select a series of locations and events in or around Ipswich and Colchester where the mobile coffee unit can act as an informal setting for veterans and their families to talk about mental health challenges and support services available in the county.
Combat2Coffee is also able to offer a pop-up coffee bar for local events with proceeds going to Help for Heroes and Combat Stress. For further information, contact Nigel Seaman on 07429 439766 or via email at Nigel@combat2coffee.co.uk
To find out more, visit www.combat2coffee.co.uk