Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Atwell sees Nicaraguan coffee plant

Hollywood star Hayley Atwell has swapped the glamour of the movie world for the grinding poverty of central America

Hayley Atwell has swapped the glamour of the Hollywood movie world for the grinding poverty of central America to see how charity work has changed the lives of thousands of people.

The British actress - soon to be seen in blockbuster Captain America - teamed up with Christian Aid to visit Nicaragua, seeing first-hand how coffee farmers and workers have been helped.

The 29-year-old even tried her hand at producing coffee herself, joining skilled workers at a factory sorting the beans.

The Brideshead Revisited star sat alongside the female workforce picking out the sub-standard beans - but struggled to keep pace with her experienced colleagues.

"They work incredibly quickly, it was all a bit of a whirlwind really," she said.

The London-born actress was returning to her roots in some ways as it was coffee which gave her a big break.

She said many years ago that a summer job in a coffee shop helped establish her acting career - by funding her first flight to LA.

"In a sense I partly owe my career to coffee," she said.

Hayley visited Soppexcca, a co-operative of coffee farmers that Christian Aid has helped for 10 with business advice on how to make their produce Fairtrade. Profits from coffee sales are invested back into the community and help to fund youth projects, schools and health centres.

Her visit came ahead of Christian Aid Week which runs from yesterday until Thursday, and will raise money for the charity's projects. Further details are available at www.caweek.org.

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