A new scheme titled ‘Isle Pay it Forward’ looks to provide free food and beverages to those who need it most in the island.

In certain shops and cafes, paying customers can choose to pay more than the price of what they’re ordering, with the extra amount being put to one side for somebody else to then receive free food or drink.

One of the organisers of the scheme, Tina Brennen, says: ‘Known worldwide as “Suspended Coffees” and helping those in need to get a free coffee, tea or meal, it relies on participating venues to display a poster and is donation led by customers when paying their bills.

‘Having seen the Suspended Coffees concept on social media I started the Isle Pay it Forward cards on January 12, 2023, with the aim of benefitting those most in need in our community through participating charities who distribute the cards.

‘For many reasons, those who are struggling may not be confident asking for a free coffee or food. Isle Pay It Forward cards enable people to discreetly show their card at the counter.’

There are currently 15 cafes across the island that are displaying the Isle Pay it Forward posters, which lets people know that it is an eligible cafe to use their cards.

These cafes include Cafe Red and the Whistlestop Cafe in Port Erin, the Tickethall and Capones Diner in Douglas and the Northern Swimming Pool Cafe in Ramsey.

Cards are issued to those in need by participating charities, such as the Salvation Army, the food bank and Graih, while they have a three month validity from after the date they are issued.

The Isle Pay it Forward cards are not the only cards issued to those in need as part of the scheme. ‘Kids Grub Club’ cards are also given to children in primary schools who are on free school meals for them to use during the holidays.

Currently, 17 of the 32 primary schools (excluding Buchan School) are involved in the scheme and distributing cards to their students.

However, Tina plans for more schools to get involved. She says: ‘The plan is that, eventually, all primary schools on the island will be a part of the scheme.

‘I’m currently in discussion with the Department of Education about this, and hopefully soon we will see more schools distributing cards.

‘It is strictly one card per child and does not include adults, while it is valid for the whole school year to be used during school holidays only.

‘Both Isle Pay it Forward cardholders and Kids Grub Club cardholders are also given an information sheet detailing how the scheme operates and the participating venues.

‘Cardholders may wish to phone beforehand to check if donations are in hand and contact details are given on the info sheets issued with the cards.’

The cards and posters have been printed by ‘The Copy Shop’, the primary sponsor of the scheme.