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The Wiltshire coffee group that is raising thousands of pounds to help tackle hunger in Africa

22 July 2014

The Wiltshire coffee group that is raising thousands of pounds to help tackle hunger in Africa

image: Sarah Scott at a Coffee 'n Browse session at All Saints Church in Burbage, Wiltshire.

Coffee mornings where local people can gather to browse local crafts and foods have long been a feature of rural life.

But in the Wiltshire village of Burbage, ‘Coffee ‘n Browse’ sessions at All Saints Church Centre on the first Friday morning of each month have achieved much more than just fostering a valuable sense of community and outreach. That’s because they have also managed to raise the incredible sum of just under £8,000 in nine years for the leading charity Farm Africa which is working in eastern Africa to tackle one of the world’s most pressing problems: hunger.

People pay just £1.50 for a donut (from a local bakery) and unlimited coffee to come to the sessions where they are able to browse and buy beautiful gifts like jewellery, cards and toiletries (often hand crafted in Burbage) or locally made honey. Each month all proceeds from the morning is collected up and sent to Farm Africa. Other local charities also have tables to raise funds for their own charity too.

The idea for the ‘Coffee ‘n Browse’ sessions came to Sarah Scott who has worked at the local school for seven years. She got thinking about how people in Burbage could make a difference in 2005 when the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign encouraged people to do more to help in the fight against global hunger and poverty. In the same year Sarah also received a Farm Africa toy goat as a 40th birthday present, and attended a church course that encouraged churchgoers to get out into the community and encourage a sense of fellowship in the Burbage community.

And as the 49 year old mother of three explains, “The Make Poverty History campaign got me thinking about how we could do things here in Burbage that would make a real difference to the lives of people thousands of miles away. And then I got the Farm Africa goat and I learned about the charity’s work helping people on the ground to grow more food which seemed a really effective way to me of working to beat hunger. I’m really proud of the way the community I live in has come together to help people in need thousands of miles away.”

Sarah and a team of hugely dedicated helpers (including Cynthia, Joyce, Diana, Karen and 3 Jeans) have kept the Coffee ‘n Browse sessions going ever since. And given the way the Coffee ‘n Browse sessions have had such a positive impact on the lives of communities in eastern Africa, their motto could not be more appropriate:

“Meeting locally but helping families from afar.”

The next Coffee n Browse session, incorporating a cake-sale and cake-decorating for youngsters, takes place on Friday August 1 (9.30am – 12.30). It will celebrate the huge success of the scheme which has seen a lovely centrepiece of local life grow into a source of funding for Farm Africa’s life-changing work in remote corners of rural eastern Africa.


Burbage to help Farm Africa Give Hunger the Boot this Harvest

And Sarah is also delighted that later this year All Saint’s Church in Burbage will be using its Harvest themed Café Church event to support Farm Africa even further by helping the charity to Give Hunger the Boot.

The idea is for everyone to make a donation if they attend the Café Church in their wellies. Children can decorate wellies, the harvest collection can be collected in a welly boot and there’s even the possibility of some welly throwing too in the playing field next door! All money raised will go to Farm Africa’s Give Hunger the Boot appeal.

Give Hunger the Boot activities will take place over Harvest weekend on Sunday 28 September from 10.30am onwards in the Village Hall in Burbage.

Thanking Sarah and everyone who has made the Coffee ‘n Browse sessions such a success, Farm Africa’s Community Fundraising Manager, Sarah Goddard, said:

“It’s easy to think that there’s very little we can do to help the people we see on the news who are struggling with some of the most challenging problems that life can throw at them - like real hunger. The Burbage Coffee ‘n Browse sessions are a fantastic example of how local communities can truly make a real and lasting impact. I’m very much looking forward to attending their summer event on the 1st August and seeing their fundraising efforts first-hand. On behalf of all the communities our work is supporting in eastern Africa, I’d also like to thank Sarah, her team and everyone that attends for their ongoing generosity. You are truly helping to change lives of farmers in Africa.”

Find out more about Farm Africa and how you can get involved, including in its Give Hunger the Boot appeal.

Downloadable and captioned images of Sarah Scott and her Coffee ‘n Browse sessions are available here


For further information, please contact the Farm Africa press office:

Matt Whitticase 020 7067 1237 / 07515 788456


Notes to Editor:

About Farm Africa

Farm Africa is a different kind of charity, working to end hunger and bring prosperity to rural Africa. The organisation works shoulder-to-shoulder with farmers and communities. By providing the right seeds, tools and technical support, farmers are empowered to grow enough food to feed their families – not just this harvest, but every harvest.