VISITORS to an Oxford church which is offering a free meal to cash-strapped people have welcomed the offer.

Half a dozen people turned up for the free food at the Temple Cowley United Reformed Church on Saturday.

However, organisers – who are keen to point out the service is not a soup kitchen – are confident that both rich and poor will come forward to enjoy their food and community space once the message has spread.

Mark Knight, 25, from Hill Top Road, Headington – who enjoyed a cheese and salad sandwich and a cup of soup – said the meal was a godsend for someone struggling financially.

Mr Knight said: “I’m on benefits at the moment and struggling a bit, so I thought this would really help me out with a lunch.

“You don’t get a lot of people these days willing to help others for free, so it’s quite remarkable what the church is doing and very touching.

“I’ve told them I will go along next week and perhaps bring a few more people along for them because they said they wanted more to come.”

Mr Knight, who was made redundant from his job as a cleaner when Bar Ha Ha! in Oxford closed in January, added: “For someone on benefits it can be really difficult to feed yourself properly all the time, so this was a real bonus.”

Church secretary Frances Thomas said: “We are sure we’ll have plenty more people coming to us in future weeks.

“We really do want people to come together here and we don’t care if you are financially disadvantaged or in a swish job, or a person of faith or someone with no faith at all.”