On Monday 25 October, Just-Ice Poynton opened its doors to the public.
The ice cream shop and community hub in the centre of the village is run on Christian values, where “all are welcome and a friendly face and listening ear can always be found.”
What makes the social enterprise so special is that it offers sympathetic employment to survivors of slavery.
Just-Ice founder, Jo Rodman, says: “Our vision is to create a community hub in the centre of Poynton where all are welcome and can have fun, business is conducted fairly, friendships can be established and developed and those who were previously living under the control of others can find freedom. Once the cafe is established early next year, we aim to employ four survivors of modern slavery on a two-year training and development programme."
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For some time, Jo has operated a mobile ice cream trike, which has become a well-known attraction around Poynton village and she can often be found selling ice cream at summer fetes, carnivals, and community events.
Jo adds: “Opening the ice-cream shop on Park Lane really is the cherry on top and something we’ve been working hard towards for some time. We’re looking forward to welcoming our customers and offering delicious ice cream alongside a friendly chat.
The full cost of refurbishing and equipping the cafe has been met through generous donations and grants including from St Georges Poynton.
Just-Ice founder, Jo Rodman, is training for ordination and was inspired to create the ice-cream shop after hearing about a Christian couple in Derby who turned their passion for ice cream into a thriving social enterprise.
During the discernment process towards ordained ministry, Jo expressed an interest in and passion for a social enterprise but was unsure whether combining the two was realistic. However, the diocesan Director of Vocations, the Revd Sarah Fenby, encouraged her to pursue both as part of a Pioneer Deacon role which places emphasis on working with the wider community and bringing the Church outside the four walls of its building.
Sarah says: “Just-Ice is a creative enterprise which allows Jo to share her faith through ordained ministry as well as her gifts for business and community. With Just-Ice she can have the best of both worlds! I’m sure she will continue to be a wonderful minister to this unique community she is creating in Poynton and it will be interesting to see how God uses this initiative as part of the current Church of England vision of a mixed ecology Church in the coming decade."