It pays to think forward at kind-hearted cafes

Family crisis organisations are backing a wave of support for pay-it-forward schemes that are cropping up across the borough.
Catherine Hankey and Belinda Marsh from Nanny Bea's CafeCatherine Hankey and Belinda Marsh from Nanny Bea's Cafe
Catherine Hankey and Belinda Marsh from Nanny Bea's Cafe

Kind-hearted restaurants and cafes in Wigan have started offering customers the chance to pay for extra drinks and meals when purchasing their own, which can then be given to those in need at a later time.

In January, the Wigan Observer told the story of Nanny Bea’s Cafe, which had started their pay-it-forward scheme shortly before Christmas.

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And it seems the heartwarming deeds of the Billinge cafe have resonated with other cafe owners across Wigan.

The Station Cafe in Wallgate is among those to have taken it upon themselves to help feed the hungry.

Station Cafe owner Corey Korbay said he had been running the scheme for just under a month.

“I saw lots of homeless people around, and just wanted to help them out,” he said.

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“I thought it would be better to give them food instead of money. I heard about Nanny Bea’s pay-it-forward scheme and I thought it was a great idea.”

“Our customers pay for a card and either leave it here on the wall, or take it out to a homeless person.

“The customers are really happy with the idea, it’s been really well received.”

But now family crisis units are being urged to help publicise the schemes so that their target users are aware of the help they can receive.

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Mary-ann Wall, who owns Big Baps on Market Street, started her scheme after seeing American restaurants doing it online.

“Every day, I see people sleeping on the streets,” said Mary-Ann, who has run the cafe for the past two years.”

Another such organisation, which already works with Nanny Bea’s, described pay-it-forward initiatives as a brilliant way to make a difference. The Storehouse Project delivers furniture, food and household items to people across the borough, free of charge.

Centre manager Julie Smith praised pay-it-forward schemes for helping people who are struggling to make ends meet.

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“It’s brilliant because a lot of people are isolated, so a tea or coffee can make such a difference to some,” she said.

“We’d love more local cafes to get involved and help more people. We’d also like to see more members of the public donating to the cafes.

“Poverty is more than just a lack of material items. It can be low income - people in work but struggling to make ends meet.”

She finished: The pay-it-forward scheme is a fantastic project that we can now offer to those in our community that need it the most.

“To establish a scheme in each area would be a great way to bring communities together as well as supporting local business.”