New Combat2Coffee venue set to open in Ipswich town centre
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A new Combat2Coffee shop staffed by veterans and Hollesley Bay Prison inmates is set to open in Ipswich town centre.
Next-door to the EasyHotel in Northgate Street, the coffee shop will provide the town centre both with a place to grab a cup of ethically-sourced coffee and a place for anyone to seek mental health support.
The charitable company was started by former soldier and prison officer Nigel Seaman in 2019, who wanted to raise money for charity Combat Stress and give back to veterans and prisoners in need of help with their mental health.
On top of mobile units – most recently seen at Ipswich's Junkyard Market – the business also has a small cafe inside Spokeworx in Princes Street, as well as a roastery staffed by residents at Hollesley Bay Prison.
Mr Seaman said he hopes the standalone shop will help support prisoners – many of whom are veterans – reintegrate into society, while providing a space for local charities and healthcare organisations to offer support.
He said: "Helping veterans is a huge part of this project but we also want to spread out and help agencies such as the NHS and Suffolk Mind.
"We have seven guys working for us at the roastery in Hollesley Bay and at the public-facing farm shop there. If we can help them by giving them a job that gets their foot in the door, then why shouldn't we give them a chance?
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"The biggest chance of reintegrating for veterans and prisoners alike is to help them with their mental health – our veterans fought for this country and put their lives on the line for us. I was given a second chance, and I think they all deserve one too.
"I'm just really excited to get going."
Tables at the shop will be made using old cell doors from the east Suffolk prison, while artwork from one of the prison's residents will be put on display.
Mr Seaman added he hopes the brand and its coffee will soon become a high street name nationwide, although work to get the coffee shop ready for the anticipated easing of lockdown in spring needs to be completed.
He said: "If there are any plumbers or electricians who wouldn't mind sparing their time to help us and our veterans we would be so thankful."
Those willing to help with the project can call Nigel on 07429 439766.