A VENTNOR cafe at the heart of its community has raised £1,800 to provide free packed lunches for children.

Kirsty Chapman at the Better Days Cafe on the High Street near Tesco has collected the funds through kind donations from cafe users.

She and her army of volunteers will make up 720 packed lunches next week and hand them out to families in need - no questions asked.

She started the scheme on hearing the Isle of Wight Council were no longer providing holiday vouchers to families struggling to make ends meet, and instead there would be a one-off payment to some families.

However, the following day, the council said vouchers would be available, to families meeting certain criteria.

However, Kirsty is offering her packed lunches to any family that asks, whether in receipt of free school meals or not.

She said: "We have raised £1,800 so enough to feed a few. If you want packed lunches for your children for half term next week, whether or not you are entitled to free school dinners, please message the cafe. Collect or we can deliver."

The Better Days Cafe was established in January to give people a safe and welcoming place to go, whatever their situation, and to give people work experience and volunteer work, to improve their mental health.

People can drop in and enjoy a drink, cake or light snack, and help pay to keep the cafe going. There is a pay-it-forward scheme, so people can contribute to that and others can benefit from it.

The cafe volunteers can signpost users to different services, and there are regular workshops, from singing to creative writing.

On Saturday, June 4, the cafe is celebrating the post war era of 1953, to commemorate the Queen's jubilee.

Dress in 1950s attire, hear the music from the era, try the food such as corned beef sandwiches, pork pies, piccalilli and boiled eggs.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Kirsty said: It's a step back in time for those who were there. If you work in a residential home or have elderly parents, grandparents or neighbours, bring them along for some nostalgia."

Find the Better Days Cafe on Facebook