A BUSINESSMAN who owns a popular restaurant in Colchester's town centre is helping Ukrainian refugees by offering them free meals via a voucher system.

Mehmet Ozer, who came to Colchester in 2001, is making sure those less fortunate won’t go hungry by offering them food from his restaurant, Dr Chippy’s, which is in St Botolph Street.

Under the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, both Mr Ozer and his wife are also hosting three Ukrainian refugees, who are cousins of Mr Ozer’s wife.

Not that this level of generosity is particularly rare for Mr Ozer, who for years has been running a voucher scheme to help those who are going hungry on the streets.

Mr Ozer, who moved to the UK from Turkey in 1990, described what he does to help, and what motivates him.

He said: “Last month, we provided 50 meals for refugees.

“We provide anything, basically – chicken and chips, fish and chips, burger and chips, whatever.

“I gave about 50 vouchers, so we’ve done the first 50, but we are going to do hundreds.

“People don’t come all together [at a specific time] – we give them the vouchers so they can come when they are hungry.”

Mr Ozer has displayed such generosity for years but he felt obliged to offer the same to Ukrainians who fled their homeland following the Russian invasion.

“I do this every year, I always do it – when someone becomes homeless, they can have leftovers,” he said.

“I’m not a religious person but where I come from, we need to help people – everybody needs food.”

And Mr Ozer is giving specific help to a Ukrainian family – a mother and her two children, aged 10 and 14.

They are relatives of his wife, and after a journey across Europe which included going through Hungary and Italy.

“They left with a small backpack weighing ten kilos – when they ran away, many people didn’t take suitcases so more people could get in the bus.

“On Monday, they had their first day in an English school.

“I always look after people, my kids, my wife – if they need anything, I will try and get it for them.”