A café at a popular Cumbrian attraction has started a pay it forward scheme to help out those in need of a meal.

The café at The Rum Story in Whitehaven, run by local man Jason Roper, will start the scheme next week after being given a starting boost of £100.

The idea of a pay it forward scheme has become popular around the world and involves someone voluntarily paying for the person in the order of the person in the queue behind them as well as their own, ideally starting a chain, ending up with someone receiving something free.

This scheme will be slightly different, however, and will see customers voluntarily rounding up the sum of their order to a higher value, the difference added to a fund.

It all started after an encounter with a homeless ex-serviceman that Mr Roper got involved with, as he explained: “About a month ago, there was a gentleman I had seen for about a week.

“He was asking people for money, and I had a craic with him and I said I don’t believe in giving money because it goes to the wrong places, but he could come into the café and have a cup of coffee and a breakfast for free.

“He told me he had served in Afghanistan and suffers with PTSD, and he was open and honest about being on drugs, and that was why he couldn’t hold down a job and lost his house.

“He isn’t from here, he goes around the UK and leaves when he’s moved on, he said, and I felt sad for him.”

He got £100 to start off with from a woman who choses to remain anonymous, he said, but who helps out promoting the business.

Mr Roper continued: “When people come up to pay, say if their bill is £8.99, we can round it up to £10, and when it comes up to what is enough for me to make something, like a soup and a sandwich which costs me £2.50 to make, that’ll come up on the board.

“It will say it’s been paid already so it can be claimed.”

He also mentioned that he works closely with other larger businesses I the area like Sellafield and West Lakes Science Park, and is in the process of emailing them to see if they would like to donate as well.

The £100 at the moment covers roughly 20 or so meals, but if other businesses get on board it could soar, he said, as he doesn’t want to rely on the general public.