A TYNE Valley ice cream business is being recognised for lending a hand to others during the coronavirus crisis.

THE Hexham Courant has launched a campaign celebrating businesses going above and beyond in the community, identifying their special efforts by crowing them Trader of the Week.

This week, we are shining a light on Tyne Valley Ices, which has been helping Slaley Community Shop to stay stocked up so customers can buy what they need locally during the coronavirus lockdown period.

Zoe Phillipson of Tyne Valley ices said the volunteered to help after finding out that the community-run shop was struggling to find someone able to drive to its suppliers in Newcastle to bring back stock.

The shop, which is run by volunteers, has seen an increase in the number of people coming to buy their essentials there.

Zoe said: "Because the shop is a community shop it is run by volunteers and they haven't been able to get the regular people out to get to the stockists.

"People are going there more now, which is good because it saves them travelling into Hexham and limits movement, so supplying the shop is really important at the minute. They were looking for someone who could help and I was more than happy to."

Zoe now drives the Tyne Valley Ices delivery van to Newcastle once per week to collect stock for the shop. She said essential items and snacks were popular with customers at the moment.

Based in Whitley Chapel, Tyne Valley Ices already had a relationship with the shop, being the supplier of its ice cream.

The ice cream business has seen a reduction in the number of ice creams it can deliver to shops, due to many being closed, but it is still delivering to some including Slaley and Humshaugh community shops and the Hexham General Hospital Shop. Meanwhile, they have taken the decision not to go out in the ice cream van for the time being.

Zoe added: "We would love to be out working on the ice cream vans. We would be busy at this time of year with how good the weather has been, it would be a prime time for us. But as we haven't been as busy, and our delivery van is not doing as much, we knew we could help out.

"I would rather go down there myself than for someone who was a bit more vulnerable feel like they should do it to keep the shop stocked."

Zoe said the current situation had shown how valuable local community shops were, and she hoped people would continue to shop local after the lockdown was lifted.

"Slaley Community Shop are doing a great job and they have really adapted," she said. "It's great to see a community shop doing so well and it would be a shame to see it close if they couldn't get hold of the items they needed, so it's important we help them where we can."