Cuppa Care Project press release


The Norfolk charity ‘Hear for Norfolk’ has launched its new Cuppa Care bus, after piloting it across 22 locations across Norfolk using a ‘borrowed’ vehicle from one of its other services.

The project was initially initiated by the Rotary Club of Norwich, where the CEO of Hear for Norfolk served as the President, as part of commemorating the first one hundred years of the club. This long-term project focuses upon ‘preventing and reducing social isolation and loneliness in Norfolk’ – whether caused through poverty, disability, age, gender, lack of accessible local support and information services, geographical remoteness or poor transport, or other needs.

To be able to deliver the project, the Rotary Club of Norwich has developed a working partnership with a number of well-known and established local charities – Hear for Norfolk (Norfolk Deaf Association), Vision Norfolk (NNAB), Age UK Norwich, Norfolk and Norfolk & Waveney Mind (mental health), and Age UK Norfolk – whose work is aimed at supporting various groups of beneficiaries across the county, providing specialist support, information and advice. A common objective that all partners in this project share is the prevention and reduction of loneliness and isolation experienced by people in Norfolk.  Hear for Norfolk is the lead partner in the project and has been instrumental in raising all the required capital and revenue funds for the project.

Hear for Norfolk’s Cuppa Care bus cost £58,000 to develop, including the purchase and conversion of a vehicle and the acquisition of a medical fridge, coffee machine and water boiler. The required capital funds were raised with help from the Geoffrey Watling Charity, the Clan Trust, the R. C. Snelling Charitable Trust, Norfolk Community Foundation Transforming Communities Fund, the Martin Laing Foundation, the Smith & Pinching Charitable Trust and a number of very generous Rotarians. After a number of months of waiting for the vehicle to be delivered and then converted, on the 12 th December 2022 the new Cuppa Care bus was launched. Lady Dannatt, HM Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, and Patron of the charity, who officially launched the new bus said:

It is such a profound and very great privilege for me to be with you this morning to talk about Cuppa Care bus.  Thank you beyond measure for inviting me to highlight this remarkable and innovative project, while hugely thanking the Rotarian community who have so generously enabled the project in the first place.

Hearing and sight loss, as well as many other conditions can and do accentuate social isolation.  It then so often leads to a profound lack of confidence, a low level of self-esteem, and unsurprisingly, mental health issues may often increase as a result.  Far fewer people with hearing loss become involved in social activities of any kind.  The pathway to social exclusion is well understood.

Hearing loss, for example, can cause grief, anxiety and anger.  It can affect your personality and without doubt, your ability to freely and legitimately express your thoughts consistently to the rest of the world. Here in Norfolk, we frequently add into that mix rural poverty, and certainly rural isolation.  Few if any bus services. Few remaining pubs or local amenities such as a village shop or post office.  Fewer, more than ever, community spaces where a person with profound hearing loss can feel not only welcome, but safe.

So these are just some of the reasons why I am so passionate about Hear for Norfolk’s community Cuppa Care Bus scheme.  Innovative, imaginative and grass root level led, this scheme ticks all the boxes for me, and many, many more.  Without a doubt this new converted vehicle before us today will not only reach, but simply transform the lives of so many in this count, but those who often and hitherto are suffering in anguish – and in silence.  Cuppa Care will provide their lifeline and their sanctuary.

On behalf of all within our communities suffering from hearing or sight loss, and any other health conditions and disadvantages and on behalf of this magnificent county of ours, may I offer Hear for Norfolk, all the charities involved in the project delivery and the Rotarians, my most profound thanks.  Norfolk owes you all a significant debt of gratitude indeed.  Furthermore, on behalf of His Majesty The King I salute you – and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Happy Christmas to you all and thank you so much for being here today”.

Aliona Derrett, Chief Executive of Hear for Norfolk said: “I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the Rotary Club of Norwich for supporting the initiation of this project, to all the funders who have provided the required financial support to help us purchase and convert the vehicle, all the partners in the project and the trustees and staff at Hear for Norfolk for their commitment to the project. We are very much looking forward to raising the additional revenue funds we require to be able to take the Cuppa Care bus across the Norfolk communities on a full-time basis. We are also looking for additional volunteers to help us reach as many people as possible, provide a listening ear over a ‘cuppa’ and provide the support they might require.”

For more information contact Hear for Norfolk, t. 01603 404440 or email See the full Cuppa Care Project locations visited currently and timetable at Hear for Norfolk – a Norfolk based registered charity that has been supporting people with hearing loss for over 125 years – has a range of mobile facilities that travel the county providing hearing support services – including the maintenance of NHS issued hearing aids, ear otoscopy and ear wax removal. It also provides hearing assessments and hearing aid fitting, ear wax removal and hearing aids maintenance services from a number of community-based venues across Norfolk, as well as carries out domiciliary visits for all services for people who are housebound.