A HEREFORD cafe is doing what it can to help homeless people in Hereford, with the owner saying there could be as many as 40 people without a home in the city.

The Covid-19 pandemic means more people are living on the breadline, the owner of the Rocket Cafe Bill Gannon says, meaning their income only just covers essential payments.

A simple initiative was started in October where customers can pay for food and drinks and leave a Post-it note on a board. Anyone who can’t afford to pay can then use one to pay.

Mr Gannon, 58, has only been running the cafe for a year, but is determined to help anyone struggling where he can.

Office for National Statistics data shows 5,000 people were claiming out-of-work benefits in Herefordshire as of September 10, compared with 2,120 in March.

“It’s important people can pay ahead and help people less fortunate than they are at the moment,

especially going into the lockdown,” Mr Gannon said.

“A lot of people are just depending on helping out the homeless people but there are a lot of people who are living in houses who are actually on the breadline. They’re splitting a slice of ham between four people for dinner; they’re living in serious poverty.

“A lot of people forget about those people so it’s important they have the chance to come in and have a coffee and they can pay with a Post-it.”

Hereford Times: A customer leaves a 'pay with a Post-it' message at the Rocket Cafe in HerefordA customer leaves a 'pay with a Post-it' message at the Rocket Cafe in Hereford

Mr Gannon, who lives in Bredwardine and used to run the Pandy Inn in Dorstone, said the idea doesn’t highlight that people can’t afford to pay, but instead allows them to fit in.

Despite the lockdown in England from Thursday, he is still determined to help and will operate as a takeaway for the next four weeks.

Hereford Times: Some of the Post-it notes left by customersSome of the Post-it notes left by customers

“There is about 20 to 40 people who are homeless at the moment, and then, of course, there are many more people who are on the breadline and kids at risk in Hereford than you think,” he added.

“I’ll still be doing takeaways, but I’ll have to put over half my staff on furlough and takings will go down to about 50 per cent.

“I can afford it and will get by. I won’t make any money, but we’ll stay open and keep serving these people. I just have to keep going.”