Cone-a-virus: ice cream van delivers for Belfast's vulnerable

Workers sell food and household items from their ice cream van to local residents at a supported housing estate in west Belfast.

Workers sell food and household items from their ice cream van to local residents at a supported housing estate in west Belfast.

AFP/Paul Faith

BELFAST - Ice cream vans are normally a common sight on Britain's residential streets and in parks when warmer days arrive in the spring and summer months.

But with the country in lockdown because of the coronavirus, there are no customers to buy their cones, ice lollies and choc-ices.

In Belfast, however, at least one van is still operating -- bringing essential supplies to the elderly and vulnerable forced to stay at home.

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"When we had seen that the current situation was starting to arise, we knew that there would be problems for some families and elderly who cannot get access to food," said Steven Pollock, of Greater Shankill Action for Community Transformation group.

"The community are totally over the moon with it," Pollock told AFP. "They're just concerned about shops and going out in general."

"It gives them a bit more peace of mind that it's basically on their doorstep so they're not leaving anything to chance."

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For the duration of the coronavirus crisis, whipped ice creams are off the menu on the side of the van as its fridges are stocked with essential foodstuffs.

Drivers still play the cheerful music, which in normal times is the sign for children to pester their parents for a sweet treat.

This year it lets the elderly and vulnerable know they will not go without potatoes, cornflakes and even hand sanitiser -- essentials needed to wait out the pandemic in safety.

Source
AFP