Local electrician helps brighten community spirit by supporting new Mental Health Coffee shop

Gemma Lacey, a local electrician, has volunteered her time and expertise to install the electrics at ‘Combat2Coffee’ - a new community mental health café in Ipswich.

Gemma, who works for Blueflame, a local heating specialist said: “Unfortunately, the increase in Covid-19 infections meant that I was unable to work and was furloughed. It’s such a challenging time for everyone, so I really wanted to use my skills and do something worthwhile.”

Combat2Coffee is a community café that supports armed forces veterans who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The café will offer veterans the opportunity to get back into employment, along with a barista qualification and experience in catering. Combat2Coffee also acts as a place to offer mental health workshops, mentoring and support for the community.

Founder of Combat2Coffee, Nigel Seaman, said: If Combat2Coffee supports one person personally then it will be a success. This would not have been possible without the support from local trade businesses.”

Having served in the RAF, Gemma knew first-hand the challenges armed forces veterans can face – including depression, anxiety and flashbacks.

She continued: “When Combat2Coffee called out for an electrician, I knew I could help and give back to the community that supported me. As people started to donate materials, I began installing whatever they needed to make the café function, like the coffee and catering equipment, the lights, sockets – everything! It was such a joy to be involved in this project. Something as simple as a cup of tea and chat can really make a difference to so many people.”

Kevin Bull, Managing Director of Blueflame said: “We’re all so proud of Gemma. Covid-19 has been challenging for everyone and more and more people are suffering with mental health. The fact that Gemma has used her time to help is great – she’s an asset to the community and to Blueflame!”