Paying it forward at Opus

PAY IT FORWARD: Opus Café owner Melanie Jones is helping out.

Melanie Riley

TIMES are hard at the moment and Opus Music Café is doing their bit to pay it forward.

The café now has the option to walk in and claim a paid-for coffee or meal, or pay it forward to somebody else.

The initiative is simple, it’s just a matter of grabbing a paid docket attached to the poster on the wall and taking it to the counter where the staff will fulfil the order.

If somebody wants to pay it forward, all they have to do is select whichever menu items they would like to pay for and let the staff know to attach it to the board for someone to claim later.

Owner Melanie Jones decided to bring the initiative into her café after seeing the idea on Facebook.

The café has been doing ‘pay it forward’ coffee for a few months now and has given coffee cards to Foodbank and local mental health services.

Ms Jones wanted to take it a step further, offering both food and drink and using an easier and more discreet system.

“We’re just trying to find different ways to see what works for people,” she said.

“I don’t want people to feel ashamed of struggling, because we all are.”

Ms Jones wanted to ensure that the café is a safe space and wanted to create a welcoming environment for people.

“Times are hard, it’s hard for people,” she said.

“It’s a nice way for people to come here, enjoy the atmosphere of live music and forget about their stress.”

Ms Jones said that the initiative is close to her heart as someone that has gone through her own struggles.

It was only a few years ago that Ms Jones herself needed the help of others around Christmas time.

“I understand that struggle and I understand how hard it is to ask for help,” she said.

“It’s just nice to give back.

“That helps my mental health. Helping others helps me.”

If people are struggling, Ms Jones encourages them to head in and grab something from the board, and for people to give back if they’re in a position to.

“If people want to give back, please don’t hesitate,” she said.