Helping people in Suffolk stay warm and well 

image of two light bulbs, one switched on, one off

RCC Energy Advice

Photo of Ann stood with a stack of boxed slow cookers

Slow Cooker Appeal

Screengrab of RCC Warm Spaces map

Warm Welcomes

Suffolk Community Foundation Surviving Winter flyer image

Useful Links

Energy Advice

Rural Coffee Caravan Community Engagement Officers can provide specialist energy guidance on organisations, and agencies who can be approached if you are struggling to stay warm in your home.  Get in touch with us us by emailing and we will pass this on to the engagement office for your area who will contact you at the earliest opportunity.

Our Community Engagement Officers can offer information on:

  • Smart Meters and how to go about getting one if you want to change
  • The Priority Services Register for extra support when there is a power cut and how to join it
  • Being granted support items from our winter appeal, such as slow cookers and wearable blankets.

We can also direct you to organisations that can advise on and provide:

  • Heating grants and benefits
  • Loans of temporary heaters
  • First time free central heating
  • Home insulation
  • Community Oil buying.

Slow Cooker Appeal

In December 2020 we began an appeal to raise money for slow cookers to help provide Suffolk households in need with the means to cook hot, nutritious meals.

Food poverty and fuel poverty go hand in hand and, with the huge increases in our energy bills, many more people were faced with making difficult choices between heating their homes and eating.

So far, we have given out more than 1,000 slow cookers and this last year, fundraising added another £15,000 to our Winter Appeal, helping to provide slow cookers, wearable blankets and other winter warmth items to even more families and individuals across the county.

Slow cookers use very little power but allow cheaper ingredients to be made into delicious nutritious meals. In fact they can be used for a whole variety of foods and make a very healthy option for anyone experiencing fuel poverty. Warming nutritious meals help the recipients stay well through winter and beyond.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our winter appeal – every donation has helped to make a significant, positive difference.

We are still distributing slow cookers to households in need via the community partners we work with, who are able to gift them directly to the recipients. Get in touch with one of our team on the contact number above if you would like to enquire on behalf of your community.

Slow Cooker Recipes

Graphic of slow cooker with Chicken Fajitas recipes text overlaid

The Rural Coffee Caravan friend and supporter, Nadine, is a trained chef with many years of experience. She loves to feed people and to see the joy food can bring.

Although Nadine hasn’t lived in Suffolk for over 20 years she still has strong friendship ties to the county and is delighted to help the people of Suffolk during these financially testing times. By offering some great foodie ideas for using the slow cooker, Nadine hopes to inspire our readers to use their own, to cook tasty, wholesome and energy efficient meals.

Click on the image to open a printable PDF containing five of Nadine’s tasty Slow Cooker Recipes: Mac & Cheese, Chicken Fajitas, Salisbury Steak, Rice Pudding and Chocolate Banana Bread.

Warm Welcomes

Warm Spaces map marker graphic
In August 2022, as news of energy price hikes were announced, we put a call out to community buildings, churches, pubs, cafes and libraries in Suffolk to ask if they would consider offering a space to their local residents during the winter months where anyone in the community was welcome to come and spend time.
We mapped every space that we could find, over 300 across the county, to create an interactive resource where people could easily locate their nearest place to share warmth, a free cuppa, and often a free or discounted meal, throughout the coldest months.
Somewhere, to use the facilities without having to worry about the bill, to access signposting information for support where needed, and to be socially connected for a few hours on a regular basis.
Screengrab of RCC Warm Spaces map
Working with local councils, Suffolk Libraries, care homes, family hubs, village pubs and many local coffee mornings, clubs and groups we were able to help distribute support information and resources to the spaces so that they could make it available to their local community. When winter finally moved on, and with Suffolk County Council’s help, we were also able to thank and acknowledge a multitude of volunteers across the county who had helped to run or organise these spaces, awarding them with a Suffolk Says Thank You enamelled badge.

Is your community thinking about setting up a Warm Welcome space this coming winter? Let us know and we will add you to our map. Below is some useful guidance and resources:

CAS Guide to Warm Rooms PDF front image

CAS – Really Useful Guide to Warm Rooms (2022) has been created to provide a useful, practical guide to support you as you set up, or consider setting up a venue as a Warm Room or Warm Welcome Space.

This guide has been created by Community Action Suffolk (CAS) in partnership with the Rural Coffee Caravan and is intended to support anyone thinking of creating a Warm Welcome space in their premises. It provides an overview of what you may need to consider, as well as sources of further
information and resources – supporting you to successfully set-up and manage a Warm Warm Welcome space.

Follow the link to open the guide:  CAS – Really Useful Guide to Warm Rooms PDF

Martin Lewis Warm Spaces guide

Money saving expert, Martin Lewis, has teamed up with CILIP, the UK’s library and information association, to back a guide offering advice to libraries and other community buildings who are considering becoming “warm banks”.

Follow the link to open the guide.  A Warm Welcome PDF

Copyright 2023 The Rural Coffee Caravan | Registered charity number: 1187423