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Wellingborough achieves Fairtrade status

Published Monday, 22 March 2010

Five years after beginning the campaign, Wellingborough is celebrating becoming a Fairtrade borough.

A steering group has been actively campaigning to persuade local businesses, schools, faith groups and community organisations to swap their tea, coffee and sugar for Fairtrade versions to help farmers and workers in the developing world achieve better prices and decent working conditions.

Councillor Patricia Raymond, a member of the steering group, explains how the status was achieved, why it's important, and what needs to be done now:

"We are delighted that after so much hard work and campaigning, we are recognised as a Fairtrade borough. Everyone in the borough can feel proud that we are helping to strengthen the work of the Fairtrade Foundation and that we are helping communities in developing countries earn enough today to invest in a better tomorrow.

"Achieving Fairtrade status is only the beginning of our journey and there is still much more work to be done. We would like to reach more schools and we will be focusing our attention on them more as the campaign continues. We would like more faith groups to be represented on our steering group, and we would also like more local business to support the campaign. Finally, we want to raise awareness of the full range of Fairtrade products available, including chocolate, juices, fresh and dried fruit, wines, honey, cakes, snacks, cereal bars, sauces, spreads, flowers and even clothes.

"It's a common myth that Fairtrade products don't taste as good or are more expensive but it's easier than people think to support the campaign - Cadbury's Dairy Milk and Nestle's KitKat for example are both Fairtrade chocolate.

"Now we are a Fairtrade borough we must prove each year that we're moving forward. I would like to appeal to as many people as possible to support our Fairtrade campaign."

Strict criteria must be met in order to be awarded Fairtrade status, and these are divided into five goals. Wellingborough met, and in many cases exceeded, all five goals.

Goal 1: Local Council passes a resolution supporting Fairtrade
The borough council is firmly committed to using Fairtrade products and only serves Fairtrade tea and coffee when entertaining. Councillor Patricia Raymond is a member of the steering group and officer time and financial support are given to help promote Fairtrade throughout the borough.

Goal 2: A range of at least two Fairtrade products are readily available in the area's shops and served in local cafés
With a population of 72,000, Wellingborough needed 15 shops and 8 catering outlets to sell Fairtrade products. After much campaigning by the steering group, this goal was exceeded with 21 retail and 9 catering outlets supporting Fairtrade, and window stickers were made available to these stockists to display in their shop windows.

Goal 3: Fairtrade products are used by an appropriate number of local workplaces and community organisations
Again as a direct result of campaigning, Wellingborough achieved a total of 22 workplaces and 17 faith groups who use Fairtrade products.

Goal 4: Attract popular support for the campaign
The steering group's campaign included talking to many different community groups and churches, having displays at major events such as Party in the Park and the Waendel Walk, and writing to and visiting numerous local businesses throughout the borough to encourage their support.

Goal 5: A local Fairtrade steering group is convened to ensure continued commitment to its Fairtrade status
The steering group consists of Peter and Valerie Anslow, volunteers and suppliers for the company Traidcraft, volunteers John Gilyhead, Susan Bedford and Chris Green, Herald & Post reporter Lawrence John, the council's Resource Conservation Manager Paul Gosling, and Cllr Patricia Raymond, Member for Redwell West. The group first met in August 2005 and now meets quarterly.