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Just-Ice: Ice cream for justice

The Derby-based ice cream business offers a workplace designed around the needs of people with a lived experience of slavery.

JUBILEE CENTRE AUTOR 193/Charlee_New 16 DE MAYO DE 2022 09:58 h
Gav and Sally Murray decided to use their love of ice cream to fight the injustice of human trafficking, and named it Just-Ice./ [link]Facebook Just-Ice [/link].

There’s something remarkable about using ice cream to support the victims of human trafficking and modern day slavery; it is not the most obvious tool of choice.



And yet, Gav and Sally Murray have started a Derby-based ice cream business to do just that. It is uniquely placed to offer support and rehabilitation, by offering a workplace designed around the needs of people with a lived experience of slavery.



For the Murrays, it’s a wonderful pairing of fun and freedom.  



Founded four years ago, Just-Ice operate a café, manufacture ice cream for wholesale (using fair trade ingredients, naturally) and take their business to events with their dedicated ice cream trike and converted horse box.



In 2007, Sally heard a presentation by Ben Cooley (founder of Hope For Justice) and over the following years the couple were deeply affected by stories of human trafficking and slavery in the news. They decided to use their love of ice cream to fight this injustice, and named it Just-Ice.



Today, of their 9 employees, roughly a third have experienced slavery, in a 1:3 ratio designed to balance the needs of survivors with the needs of the business, a business where two-thirds of their income comes from commercial trading, and the rest from charitable donations



“If you’re working with survivors, then you have to run a trauma-informed business”, explains Gavin, a former Baptist minister.



“The smallest things can be a problem and simple commands can trigger breakdowns. For example, one of our new employees asked, ‘If I bring my own cup, my own milk and my own coffee, then am I allowed to have a coffee break?’ He was scared to ask because he was previously punished and beaten for taking breaks. Everything we strive for, in terms of a good, healthy work culture is upside down in a world of slavery”.



Much like a ‘Choccy Sundae’ (an item offered in the Just-Ice Café), there are several layers to the support Just-Ice provides. Employees are carefully reviewed and given increasing responsibilities to rebuild the trust between employer and employee.



They are given the option to stay with the company or use it as a stepping-stone, and there is always a celebration when someone feels ready to move on. Where needed, they are supported to get basic qualifications in English and Maths.



Perhaps most importantly, Just-Ice try to provide community and friendships, which dramatically reduce the risk of being re-trafficked. Friends and partners of Just-Ice offer monthly mentoring to provide relationship and support.  



Just-Ice have learnt many lessons in their four years of business, and now they’re taking their valuable experiences out to others.



In particular, they want to promote trauma-informed workplaces through speaking engagements in companies, faith groups and secular business networks, so that more enterprises can become sympathetic employers to slavery survivors re-entering the workplace.



They may have chosen an unusual vehicle, but they are demonstrating how enterprise can create a valuable (and delicious) product, whilst also being part of the solution to a complex social problem. 




Charlee New, the Jubilee Centre’s Storytelling Lead & part of its ‘Church & Enterprise’ research team.




This article was first published on the website of the Jubilee Centre and re-published with permission.


 

 


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