Supplying Cornish ice cream to the Royal Cornwall Hospital for a quarter of a century

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A Cornish ice cream producer is celebrating 25 years of supplying their ice cream to the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.

Back in 1999, a dedicated catering professional spearheaded a project to supply a tub of Callestick Farms award winning Clotted Cream Vanilla ice cream to their patients at RCHT. The tub was developed especially for the contract and was soon enjoyed in all 3 Cornish hospitals. Since then, Callestick have supplied on average a colossal 1.3 million tubs of ice cream.

The Parker family have been making ice cream at Callestick Farm, near Truro, since 1989 and have gone from strength to strength over the past 35 years. “Being able to bring some joy to patients with our little tubs has been something we have been proud to continue with the hospitals for 25 years and hopefully for many more years to come,” explained Sebastian Parker, Managing Director of Callestick Farm Ice Cream.

“Our partnership with Callestick Farm is one we really value,” explains Senior Facilities Manager, Helen Tyler. “At RCHT, we have an ethos around promoting local business. Over 50% of the suppliers we use at RCHT are local to Cornwall. From a sustainability point of view, local procurement is a must, so we do invest as much as we can locally. When new packaging rules were brought in as part of the national NHS Net Zero plan, we switched from using polystyrene packaging, which is no longer suitable for use. To ensure that our valued partnership could continue, Callestick Farm and their marketing team worked with us at RCHT to redesign all packaging for our hospitals so that we could continue to provide Callestick Farm ice cream to our patients.”

“As well as being a tasty treat for patients, ice cream has a number of nutritional benefits,” explains Alex Bond, a Speech and Language therapist at RCHT. “Ice cream has a high calorie count, about 153 calories per tub and 3.4 grams of protein, so it’s a good, calorific snack for our patients, which helps them to maintain weight while rehabilitating. It also helps with recovery and wellbeing. It’s very important for patients to have the things that they enjoy, and for it to be a meaningful thing for them. It’s something that can also really impact on a patient’s recovery and rehab in every area, including things like physiotherapy. It all comes down to the fuel that you get into your body, and the more fuel a person is getting, then the more rehab can be provided. So, if people are enjoying it and want more of it, then that’s only going to have a positive effect on their rehab and recovery.”

Alex Bond and Sally-Anne Webb (Dietitian Assistant) share nutritional benefits of ice cream on Phoenix Ward

Alex continues: “When patients have swallowing difficulties or dysphagia, quite often, as part of their rehab recovery, they need to be on a slightly more restrictive diet. Being able to access familiar desserts and puddings, which they enjoy, is important, as again, it allows our patients to maintain a sense of the familiar, while still maintaining their modified diet and swallow safety. It’s something that’s been well received. We don’t really have any patients who don’t enjoy having ice cream around the hospital, and with the new packaging, which makes it more sustainable, it just seems like a good thing.”

Feedback from patients at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals suggests ice cream on the wards really makes the stay in hospital a better one. “I was delighted when I learned I could have Callestick ice cream,” one patient explained. “It’s a rare treat for me and not something I normally get at home.” Another patient added that a tub of ice cream on the ward was something she thoroughly enjoyed and really looked forward to, adding: “ice cream and jelly is a particular favourite.”

To celebrate the past 25 years of supply, Callestick Farm is working closely with the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity to help raise funds for the brilliant work they do in supporting patients and families through treatment.

10p from every scoop of Clotted Cream Vanilla ice cream served this summer from the Callestick Ice Cream Parlour, located just outside of Truro, will be donated directly to the charity. The same flavour that patients of all ages enjoy and look forward to every day while receiving care.

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust Charity team enjoy visit to Callestick Farm

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