The Rural Coffee Caravan is an enterprise in Suffolk that brings together isolated people in rural communities who are either experiencing loneliness or finding it difficult to access useful services. For the Coffee Caravan, Age Unlimited funded concerts given by members of the Suffolk Philharmonia Orchestra in October 2017 and March 2018. Ann Osborn, its founder, reports.

The concerts were a huge success on so many levels.

  • They brought out people who don't often, or ever, engage in their community.

  • They gave people the chance to listen to international standard musicians, which isn't a common occurrence in rural Suffolk.

  • They encouraged participation, which everyone loved.

  • The musicians gave workshops to local primary schools on each of the concert days. The children had so much fun learning about the instruments and the sounds they make.

  • The events themselves gave us the chance to exchange slippers and ferrules after the refreshements. This meant we could chat a bit about falls prevention but also find out about what activities would draw the more withdrawn out. The answer? More concerts! ​

Feedback from Shotley, where we received 41 response cards and 15 people decided to attend the concert by the full orchestra on the 12th November as a result of hearing the music on 1st November.

"A wonderful idea and an introduction to classical music for some."

"Excellent concert, very well presented. Would certainly go and see them again."

"Brilliant! A great chance to be able to see, hear and understand the instruments. I really enjoyed it."

"Delightful. More please!"

"What a fantastic opportunity to hear beautifully played live music."

"Brilliant! It moved me to tears – literally."

Feedback from Freckenham, where we received 28 response cards and 18 people decided to attend the concert by the full orchestra on 20th May as a result of hearing the music on 15th March.

"Wonderful concerts! Full of variety, great talent and good introductions to each piece."

"An absolute pleasure to listen to such talented and versatile musicians."

"Absolutely brilliant!"


"A really enjoyable experience. Will definitely attend more concerts because of this."

"What a treat!"

"Thank you so much for coming – it was wonderful." (Red Lodge Primary School)


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Age Unlimited provides support for the two most marginalised groups in the UK: young people growing up with no prospects, and the very elderly who have lost any hope that they will be treated with dignity during their remaining years.

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