Kind-hearted Wigan ice cream man puts smiles on faces at care home

He made the day of residents and staff by turning up to hand out sweet treats.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 2:49 pm
Updated Friday, 9th July 2021, 2:50 pm
Raheim Iqbal of Martin's Whippy with a resident at Barley Brook

Martin’s Whippy, which is run by Raheim Iqbal, dropped in at Barley Brook Residential Care Home between Whitley and Standish last Sunday to dish out 99s and other delicious delights.

Raheim said it was a joy to see some of his customers who are now resident at the assisted living facility again and to be able to put broad smiles on everyone’s faces after what has been a very tough 16 months for nursing and care facilities with the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Raheim Iqbal giving out ice creams at the care home

Cath Dahl said the visit of the van made the celebrations for the 83rd birthday of her dad, retired GP from Shevington Surgery Joseph Ratchford, all the more perfect and enjoyable.

She said: “After what has been a difficult 18 months for residents in care homes, staff and families, today was made extra special by the generosity of Martin’s Whippy who kindly gave up his time not only to deliver ice cream to all the residents and staff but at his own cost.

“To see the smiles on all the residents and staff at Barley Brook was priceless.

“I think it’s the little acts of kindness like this that need sharing.

“We just wanted to take the time to share our gratitude and say thanks to Martin’s Whippy for bringing joy and happiness to all at Barley Brook.”

Raheim said: “I just did it out of the kindness of my heart. When I found out it was his birthday I jumped at the chance. I hadn’t seen them in a very long time because of Covid and they’ve been very good customers of mine.

“I was told by the nurses and carers that they’ve never seen so many smiling faces. It’s nice because they have gone through a really tough time during Covid.

“It was like a conveyor belt making ice creams and handing them out.

“It’s the nostalgia of an ice cream, it’s such a British thing.

“It’s nice to be able to give something back. I just love doing that.”

The cones loaded up with whippy ice cream and the choice of flakes, sauces or other toppings certainly proved a hit, with Raheim estimating he probably handed out around 30 sugary treats during his time at Barley Brook.

Cos Zinonos, regional manager at Rosewood Healthcare Group, said: “We were thrilled with such an exceptional gesture for the home and residents from Martin’s Whippy. We are very happy he did that. It’s also nice to see the families of residents getting involved.

“The team at Barley Brook, led by the home manager Jill Booth, has done exceptionally well and has persevered through these tough times.

“Something like this just goes to show that Covid can’t get the better of us.

“We are coming out of the other end of this now and fingers crossed it will be onwards and upwards with more days like this as we go through into the later days of summer.

“It’s enough for us that he has brought joy to everybody, because that is what it is all about. The team at Barley Brook has a genuinely caring nature. We have nothing but praise for them.”

The quality of care provided at the Elmfield Road facility was recently recognised by the watchdog for the sector the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which rated Barley Brook as ‘good’ across the board.

Raheim, meanwhile, says he is keen to do more to brighten up the days of care home residents across the borough during the month of August.

He says he would love to visit other residential and nursing homes to provide ice creams for their residents and staff and urged any facility which would like the van to turn up to get in touch.

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