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The kindly Christchurch restaurant where you can post-it forward

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Lizzie Perrins, owner of The Eatery
Lizzie Perrins, owner of The Eatery

EVER tried to pay your drinks bill with a post-it note? That is the idea championed by a local restaurant owner who is offering a free coffee to someone in need, paid for by a stranger.

The Eatery on Ringwood Road in Walkford, Christchurch, gives customers the chance to pay for an additional beverage that can be given to a person in need of a pick-up, writes Andrew Goldman.

The pay-it-forward scheme allows the donor customer to write a message on a sticky post-it note and leave it on a board for the recipient to read and hand in to the counter.

Lizzie Perrins, owner of the Eatery, introduced the scheme after brainstorming with a fellow restaurant owner in Bath when they both decided to trial it. Now she believes every restaurant should do the same.

She told the A&T: “It’s really overwhelming to see the response we’ve had from it, just because people can be so lovely.

“It hasn’t been abused either – we’re a very small, cosy place with regular customers so we know who’s in need.

“With Covid, people have bad days so this is a little way of putting smiles on faces and bringing the community together. Everyone should do it, in my eyes.”

Some regular users of the post-it scheme are residents from nearby disability homes, NHS staff, single parents and elderly customers in search of a chat.

Lizzie said: “What’s great to see is that when they come in, they feel part of something and it makes them feel special knowing that a stranger has bought them a drink.”

The scheme was interrupted by the second England lockdown but restarted soon after, and the venue reopened after a revamp to customers this month, adhering to Tier 2 regulations.

Opened in December of last year, the Eatery is a modern restaurant wine bar with strong community ties.

Lizzie (25) started a breakfast delivery service at the age of 18 but always knew she wanted her own premises.

“Our food is healthy, it’s homecooked, fresh with locally sourced produce. We want all local businesses to feel like they have a place here,” she said.

During lockdown the Eatery kept busy by providing delivery services to local residents.

As well as the post-it scheme, Lizzie and the team also host live music, vegan events, Sunday roast deliveries and more.

The success of the Eatery has resulted in Lizzie taking the bold step of opening a second site in Ibiza with a target to open in May 2021.

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