Pinks Vintage Ice Cream Vans: Whipping Up Awareness for Dementia UK, One Scoop At A Time

Pinks Vintage Ice Cream Vans are a small family-run business, specialising in serving the iced treats of yesteryear at weddings, parties and corporate events throughout Sussex and the South Coast. But that’s definitely not all…

The Founder, Katy, otherwise known as Mrs Whippy started the business 17 years ago, and together with her daughter Georgia, endearingly known as ‘Little Miss Whippy’, they are working hard to spread soft-serve cheer throughout their costal community.

Having won two awards in 2018 for their extraordinary personal approach to customer service, Katy and Georgia know exactly how to make people happy. Through making regular visits to care homes, they quickly recognised the great comfort that the nostalgic qualities of serving ice cream can bring to dementia patients.

Inspired by this, they’re teaming up with Dementia Support this month to run a Yarn Bomb in Bognor Regis, the local seaside town in which their business was born. The business wants to literally knit their community closer together and raise as much awareness for Dementia UK as possible. Proving that when we shop small, local and independent the benefits can be far reaching #ShoppingSmallHelpsUsAll.

In this article, I chat with Georgia about all the work Pink’s Vintage are doing to benefit the coastal community:


What were the motivations behind opening Pinks Vintage Ice Cream Vans?

My dad actually purchased the first ice cream van for my mum after she was looking for a career change but wasn’t sure what to do. We renovated it ourselves and my mum attended a few community events and weddings.

I then joined the business after my mum broke her leg at the start of her busiest season yet. I had just returned from my first year of university, my parents didn’t trust me to drive the van, so my dad drove, and I served. This is when I fell in love with serving ice cream and the happiness that you can spread whilst working in an ice cream van.

I left university to grow the business. My mum wasn’t too sure, so she made me produce a 24 page business plan and pitch a dragons den style presentation to prove I could grow the business! Thankfully she did, and we now have two ice cream vans, named Patsy and Terence after my grandparents, and a Pashley ice cream tricycle named Rosey by one of our customers.


That’s such a lovely story! What’s the vision for the future?

We are currently in the process of opening our very first ice cream parlour in Bognor Regis. We’ll be producing our own ice cream and sorbets that will be served from the vans as well as in our parlour.

We will be employing people furthest from the employment market to help give people a chance to get back into work, with a supportive working environment for people who just don’t fit into the normal workplace. After this we hope to open more ice cream parlours and eventually, we are aiming for world domination within the ice cream world – helping as many people as we can to get back into work!


What is your business doing to give back to the community?

We’re running a Yarn Bombing project which is in partnership with Dementia Support and the overall aim is to raise awareness of Dementia. We are asking people to knit, crochet or sew any bunting or chain-link type designs that will be hung throughout Bognor Regis.

This will take place in the Spring on a secret date when we will also be launching a very exciting new business! We want the yarn bomb to connect the town back together again. From London Road, to the High Street, to the Old Town – we need to bring our community back together again and this is just a small way of doing so. The deadline for donations is the 1st March.

Amazing! What were your reasons for getting involved with Dementia Support?

Our ethos at Pinks Vintage is to treat everyone with the same level of respect regardless of their demographic. We have met people on our rounds living with Dementia and we also visit a number of dementia patients and care homes on a regular basis. After seeing the positive impact our visits have had on the residents and how the nostalgia has helped with their conditions, it made us realise the importance of raising awareness for Dementia in society.

How has the response been to the event so far?

We have had an amazing response from our local community and loyal customers with Sage House our local Dementia Hub running a Knit and Natter group on Fridays, the University of Chichester running knitting groups and some of our ice cream contacts from as far as Yorkshire sending us donations for the Yarn Bombing Project.


Is there anything else that Little Miss Whippy has done, or is planning to do in the future to help within the community?

I have spoken in number of local secondary and primary schools to help children understand that it’s okay if things don’t go your way on plan A as this is my Plan D and the skills, I have learnt along the way all help me run Pinks Vintage. I am also involved with Portsmouth Pride our local pride festival offering my marketing and PR skills to help promote the event as LGBTQ+ rights are something very important to me.

Once the parlour is up and running, we will also have a charity ice cream flavour where a percentage of each scoop will be donated to the chosen charity of the month. We will also be running support groups from the parlour to help provide a space for our local community to use.


What would be your advice to any other small businesses wanting to get involved with charity-based projects?

Giving back to the community doesn’t just have to be a donation of money, you can donate your skills to help others or you can talk to young people to help inspire them. The benefits you will receive as a small business really do out way the negatives. It is brilliant PR and shows your potential customers that you are a business that really cares.

In line with the campaign, could you please provide a comment on why you think supporting small businesses is so important?

Supporting your local small businesses is so important, as you are supporting the entrepreneurs of tomorrow! When you spend your money with a small business you are helping your local economy and that person’s livelihood will directly be impacted.


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