A church which has been offering free Saturday lunches over the summer has seen demand double.

Now Sheldon Road Methodist Church in Chippenham is to continue the service until at least Christmas.

Volunteers launched the free lunches in July to help people through the once-in-a-generation cost of living crisis, with 23 people attending the first event.

They promised to review the scheme at the end of the summer, and will now keep going until at least December 17, with a break in September.

An average of 35 people have been attending the lunches at the church in Audley Road.

But last weekend, there were more than 40, and this coming weekend, the church is gearing up to cater for 50.

The church will also be offering a free Christmas lunch for people who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day.

Chris Beckett from the church leadership team said it was clear they were meeting a real need in the town.

“There’s a family of five who have been a few times, and one of the parents said ‘this is one day in the week when I don’t have to budget, and don’t have to worry.’”

He said he was encouraged by the fact that some people felt able to ask if they could take away leftover food at the end of the lunch.

“That’s really good, because it means they’re not experiencing any stigma.”

The church has an army of around 25 volunteer cooks and servers, but is keen to have more helpers.

It has also been boosted by offers of help from people unconnected with the church who have made puddings to supplement the efforts of the congregation.

The two-course lunches are served between 12.30pm and 1.30pm, and people can just turn up.

Vegetarian and gluten-free options are on offer, with the scheme funded by church members and grants.

The last lunch in the current series will be on September 3, and there will then be a break before they start up again on October 1.

Anyone wanting to help can email admin@sheldonroad.church.