Fantastic response to ice cream van selling groceries

‘Fantastic’ response to ice cream van selling groceries

A man has received a “fantastic” response to his ice cream van selling groceries to locals on the Isle of Skye, and has raised enough money to repair it after the van was damaged during Storm Isha.

Andrew Feeney, 40, told the PA news agency he was inspired by the multi-purpose ice cream vans of the Glasgow of his youth to deliver goods to local people “when it became clear that we weren’t the only people that didn’t have easy and regular shop access”.

The business began operating several weeks ago and, he said, “just in the time we have been trading, the response we’ve got from people has been fantastic”.

The van is driven around part of the island, starting in Kyleakin and stopping regularly to sell food and household items to locals.

“There is a wee wife here in the village that has become dependent on the van and we’ve made sure that we’ll be able to get to her each day,” Mr Feeney said.

“She has message access to ourselves where if she needs anything we can get it for her or if she needs a run over to the shop, I have a car and can take her over.”

The van had only operated “a handful of times” before the shelving inside the van suffered water damage and one of the plastic ice cream cones was damaged during Storm Isha.

Mr Feeney, a mechanic, said: “It’s really the last thing we needed after everything to get the van up and running.”

After setting up a GoFundMe and sharing the news with his 20,000 followers on his Facebook page Andrews’s Journey, Mr Feeney raised over £800, more than enough needed to repair the van.

He explained that it was the inaccessibility of shops on the Isle of Skye and the ice cream-shop hybrid of his youth in Glasgow that inspired him to establish his business on wheels.

He said: “Me and my wife had to get a taxi from the island back across to the mainland to get milk and it was £22 for that milk.

“We had the discussion on bringing what’s known as a Glasgow ice cream van which is an ice cream van-come-grocery van, on getting one and bringing it to the island.

“Growing up in Glasgow we didn’t have shops readily available the way they are today or there just wasn’t as much access and the ice cream vans were a lifeline.

“I hope [the van] becomes a lifeline in the Highlands the way it has in Glasgow over the generations.”

Explaining further his reasons for establishing the business, he added: “In all honesty, I’m a granny’s boy. My granny brought me up to not just think of myself but think of others around me.”

Mr Feeney, a men’s mental health advocate, hopes that eventually the van will also boost locals’ mental health if they are struggling.

He said: “I’m hoping that it becomes a double ended sword once it becomes established in the community and people know the work that I do with mental health, if people are struggling then they’re going to use the ice cream van not just as a grocery shop but also that point of contact for someone to speak to on a regular basis.

“Living up here, isolation is a big thing for some folk and having that friendly face on a regular basis can be a big difference for some people.”

He added: “We won’t recover what we put into the business for the next few years and I’m happy with that as long as we are serving our community, as long as we are bringing ease of access.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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