A COFFEE shop and its customers are offering free food and drink for those struggling with money during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cafe No.11 on Rayleigh High Street are asking customers to pay for an item from their menu, write the item on a slip of paper, and attach it to the shop’s blackboard inside.

This will give those who have lost their job or who are struggling for money the opportunity to have a treat in tough times.

Dave Warren, co-owner of the venue, said the shop has been inundated with customers sticking pre-paid items on their blackboard, which includes cakes, coffees, and even a full English breakfast.

However, nobody has yet claimed any of the pre-paid items.

Mr Warren, 28, said: “We’ve had so many people come forward and help out. We only started it on Saturday.

“The response from customers and the community has been great. We’re delighted.

“It’s not just coffee. We want people to be able to have anything they would like.

“It’s incredible how many people have paid for things so far. Unfortunately no-one has used one yet, but it’s all about spreading the word.

“We have put the board at the back of the shop in case people are embarrassed about claiming one.”

The shop launched the scheme alongside James Newport, councillor of the Downhall and Rawreth ward, who asked several businesses whether they all wanted to take part.

Mr Warren is considering donating the paid food and drink to a food bank if they aren’t any takers.

The shop posted on social media, encouraging people to come forward: “Our pay it forward board has had a strong start and we’re running out of space already!

“It’s so humbling to see so many kind and generous customers contributing.

“If you know someone going through a tough time or isolating at home and finding it difficult please feel free to use the notes on the board and ask for it to be takeaway and you can drop it off to them.

“Currently on the board we have a range of options from coffees hot chocolate, tea and toast and breakfasts, and sandwiches.”