A coffee shop manager has praised the community for making its suspended coffee scheme such a success.
Café Imbizo, in West Street, Fareham, has adopted the initiative, which gives customers the option of buying extra food and drink which is then given to someone in need for free.
The scheme, which is based on an Italian goodwill gesture, has seen a large number of generous people take part at Café Imbizo.
The shop’s manager, Nick Scott, 36, from Gosport, said: ‘Anyone who comes in can ask to buy a suspended coffee and we will add the cost of that coffee to their order.
‘We then use that money to provide hot drinks and something to eat for those genuinely in need.
‘People can buy anything on the menu to help someone less fortunate than themselves.
‘People in Fareham are so generous and willing to give; the public response has been overwhelming.’
Café Imbizo is part of the Fareham Community Church and operates on a not-for-profit basis.
It was one of the first in the country to adopt the sponsored coffee scheme.
Nick read about the idea in Heather James’ column in The News.
He added: ‘Heather was saying what a wonderful idea it was and how she wished more people did it, so I e-mailed her and said “we’ll do it”.’
The public response to the idea has been so overwhelming that the café is able to extend the public’s generosity and is about to introduce a voucher scheme to help more people in the area.
Nick said: ‘The unique thing about the suspended coffee scheme is that it is the local people who are funding it. People just come in and buy a suspended coffee and they are in total control of how much they wish to spend.
‘The café, so to speak, just provides the cup from where the coffee floweth.’
Mike Hays, from Fareham, saves his loyalty points for the initiative.
He said: ‘I feel so happy about giving. It’s all part of the charity theme and it gives me a great deal of pleasure to hand the card over.’
Kerry Weller, 37, from Fareham, works as a volunteer at the café.
She said: ‘It’s a brilliant idea.
‘There are so many people in bad situations and it is really nice to be able to give people the chance to pop in for a coffee and a chat.’
Anyone who wishes to find out more about the suspended coffee scheme can drop into Café Imbizo at 171 West Street, call 07742 088815 or e-mail email@example.com