A LOCAL fast-food franchise which offers free meals to homeless people on Christmas Eve is this year reaching out to elderly people too.

Subway on Wombwell Lane, Stairfoot, has been offering free meals to homeless people on Christmas Eve since it opened in 2013, but is this year extending that offer to older people who might not necessarily need the free meal, but may be feeling lonely.

Franchise owner Sunil Mehan said it was a bid to help tackle mental health issues and social isolation.

“We have more staff working to have conversations with elderly people,” he said.

“We’re trying to help the community and we find ourselves in a position where we can afford to give something back.

“Ten minutes talking to someone could make a difference.“It is all about taking time with people, and spending time with people is a big thing for us.”

The idea of helping the homeless came about after staff at the shop noticed that people were rummaging through their bins looking for food and drinks. Staff decided to help.

“All staff have authority to give homeless people food,” said Sunil.

“We want to give something back even if it makes just a small difference.”