ChristCentral Web
Just-Ice - Ethical Ice Cream

We wanted to start a series of articles which focussed in on some social action projects which are going on in our nation. Many of these will have been launched by from churches who are part of ChristCentral, others will be of interest because of the sort of work they are doing or the sort of business they are modelling.

In our first article we've caught up with Sally from Just-Ice 
a family business who love using the joy of ice cream to bring the joy of freedom! Gavin & Sally only use natural ingredients in their Just-Ice, ice creams and sorbets and only fair-trade vanilla, chocolate and sugar is good enough to go into their ice cream!  

If you are in Derby and want to get some great Ice-cream, why not visit them in the Markethall in Derby:  Just-Ice, Unit 7-8, Markethall, Tenant Street, Derby, DE1 2DB

We wanted to help them raise awareness of Just-Ice in Derby and further afield and to find out more about the reasons why they launched it in the first place.  

We started off with a simple question – what's your favourite ice cream? 
Chocolate! It’s made from 70% fair-trade organic couverture Belgian chocolate. Quite simply divine. 

What’s your vision? 
Our vision comes from Proverbs 31:8-9 where it says that we should be a voice for the voiceless and ensure justice for the oppressed. We want to see freedom for those who are affected by slavery and war.  

Why do you feel this is something which Christians / the church should be involved with? 
Because God repeatedly through His words commands us to seek justice. It couldn’t be clearer! The victims of slavery and war are often a forgotten people and that’s where the church leaps into action the best.   

Was there a moment you knew that you should set up this project, if so when?  
It was summer 2016 and Gavin was serving his homemade ice-cream to our family and started dreaming out loud about “if I ever had a shop it would be an ice-cream shop, and it would help survivors of slavery and be for social justice.” 

Oooh,” I said, “we could call it Just Ice!” 

Basically, we knew right there, the vision was born.  

How many people are volunteers / employees? 
At the moment Gavin is the only employee and we have around 20 volunteers that help with various things.  

How vital are volunteers to what you do? 
Essential. We simply couldn’t run Just-ice currently without them.  

Do you plan to employ people in the future? 
Yes, we have our first employee starting in March and we are very excited.  

Do people you’ve helped work or volunteer with you? 
We have only been going for 10 months so it’s early days yet. We hope that in the future people we have helped will go on to manage other shops and social enterprises.   

Do you have a big team behind the scenes? How many? 
The day to day running is down to Gav and myself. However, we have been ridiculously blessed by people helping us with all manner of things from big stuff like end of year accounts and payroll to mopping the floor at the end of the day. We have even had someone make us an ice-cream trike to do our outdoor events. Amazing!  

How do you raise money or support the vision you have? 
We just tell the story to anyone who will listen and trust God with the rest. We’ve had a lot of much needed donations to help us set up but eventually we want the business itself to be able to support what we want to do.   

How are you supported by your local church? Is it direct or indirect? 
We are members of St Werburghs church in Derby City Centre who have been our loudest cheerleaders! They support us in every way but most recently we took the Just-ice trike to Sanctuary, a music event they do, and sold waffles and ice-cream, which gives us an income boost in the winter months.  

Do you have your own facilities, or do you share them with another charity or church community? 
We rent a large stall in the old Derby Market hall where we make the ice-cream as well as sell it. Come and watch! 

How does what you do, prevent human trafficking or support the work to stop human trafficking? 
We speak at as many events as we can to raise awareness and we chat to customers about the issue of slavery. We support the work of Hope for Justice, an excellent charity rescuing and working with survivors, and also more recently the newly started Derby charity called ReBuild  

Have you received any grants to help support your work? 
No, we have set up our business as a limited company which means we don’t get access to grants or charity funding. However, our day to day running is much simpler than it would be if we were a charity.   

How can people get involved and help support you? 
The best way is to come and buy ice-cream or hire us for events. We are also glad of people who can put up shelves, do accounts, cleaning, or serve in the shop. We will also need someone who can tow to get our horsebox out to events.   

Is there a way people can give money or time to support you? 
Absolutely! Either spend your money in the shop or we accept cheerful donations. Likewise, if anyone has some time on their hands, we are always happy to fill it 

What have been your unexpected hurdles and how did you overcome them? 
Not being able to get grants was tough in the early stages but God provided all we needed in the end (sometimes a bit too close to the deadline for me!)  

We’ve also met several survivors but if they don’t live in Derby it’s incredibly difficult to organise accommodation and provide employment. However, a local charity has just started helping survivors in Derby and that’s been a much simpler path to travel.   

How do you keep going during those times of struggle? 
Always remember the why, that’s enough! 

Is there a story which kept you going? 
Anyone’s story of faith and courage. I collect them! Love hearing about people stepping out and into what God has called them to do.   

What did these experiences teach you? 
To keep the main thing the main thing. That God knows what he’s doing and that it’s all about helping one person at a time.   

Are you able to share your faith when you share about Just-Ice? How do you do that? 
God is so integral to why we are doing this it’s unavoidable to mention our faith but in varying degrees depending on our audience.   

Is Just-Ice seen more as an evangelistic ‘tool’ or as a way of being Jesus to the people you are serving? 
Definitely the latter, we want to live out our faith and values and see where it takes us.   

Looking back at where you started this journey, where did you think you’d end up? Is it the same as where you are? If not how are things different?  
We really had no idea what it would look like so where we are now is exactly where we want to be today as we are just grateful things are progressing. However, we are always planning the next move, so things are always moving on.   

What’s your vision for the future, how do you want grow?  
Our vision, our end game is for Just-Ice to be in every city and to have lots of employees who are living in loving communities.  

What advice would you give to inspire others setting up a social enterprise? 
Just start would be my advice. Learn as you go, get constant feedback, pray about everything and keep reminding yourself why you started it in the first place.  

How do you relax on your days off? 
We spend time with our children, watch films and sleep! 

To find out more about Just-Ice or to book them for your event why not visit: just-ice.org  

If you have a story you'd like to feature in this series please get in touch with us and we'll be happy to share your story in the future! Email: info@christcentralchurches.org