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Use of Fairtrade - Survey in Colchester Town Centre 2017

[posted 210317]

  • Report by Joan Manhire

Introduction

For the second year running, Essex University and Colchester Fairtrade Town Group have collaborated on carrying out a Fairtrade Awareness Survey. Last year we covered businesses in the Whitehall Industrial Estate in the south-east sector of the town.

This year we tackled retail businesses in the town centre. The aim was to concentrate on smaller businesses – excluding cafes, restaurants and larger stores – who might provide refreshments for their staff. We asked general questions about Fairtrade awareness and then about their use or potential use of Fairtrade products for their staff.

Results

A total of 56 interviews were conducted by six groups of students from the Interdisciplinary Studies Centre of the School of Philosophy and Art History of the University. It was found that 79% of those interviewed recognised the Fairtrade logo, while 66% attempted to describe what was special about Fairtrade products. Most respondents had a basic idea about offering fair prices to low income farmers in the Third World for their products. Of the 70% of businesses which provided refreshments For their staff, 41% were already buying Fairtrade products. This could perhaps be related to their proximity to a High Street Marks and Spencer store which sells Fairtrade coffee and tea. Ten businesses asked for more information about Fairtrade products. We will follow this up with suitable information packs to each.

Conclusion

The students found the survey exercise rewarding and a good fit with their study of interview techniques. Carrying out the survey also counted towards their requirement to undertake some voluntary work during their undergraduate course. We found that there was a much lesser workload in helping to organise this second survey than last year. We hope to do a third survey of this kind with the University in 2018 – perhaps in a commercial estate in north Colchester. It is a good example of cooperation with other local organisations as reflected in our last 2-year and current plans.


Fairtrade Goes to Town !

[posted 200317]

  • Report from Don Manhire

Fairtrade Goes To Town !

Introduction

Our Fairtrade activities have – a little by coincidence – come literally to town in March.

First, we made a presentation of a certificate - awarded to us by the Fairtrade Foundation – to the Mayor, Julie Young, on Tuesday, 7th March in the Mayor’s Parlour in the Town Hall. The award of the certificate signifies that Colchester will keep its Fairtrade Town status for another two years. This reflects a programme of intensive activities by the Group over the previous two years to promote the idea of Fairtrade and the purchase of Fairtrade products in the town.

Secondly, we have carried out a survey of town centre retail businesses in conjunction with students from the University of Essex. This was to ascertain to what extent the staff of these businesses used Fairtrade products during their breaks for tea and coffee. The survey, carried out on Wednesday, 8th March, follows on from a very similar and equally successful survey done by other University students on the Whitehall Industrial Estate almost exactly a year ago. There is a separate piece, giving the results of this most recent survey, further down this page.

Thirdly, we organised a very successful Commonwealth Day Fairtrade Breakfast on Monday, 13th March in the Moot Hall in the Town Hall. This was a co-venture with the Mayor, and again reflects a very similar event exactly a year ago. The details of this event are reported in the next section.

A Commonwealth Breakfast

The main purpose of Commonwealth Day is to mark another year in the life of a rather remarkable institution – the Commonwealth family of nations, which stretches around the world. One of the highlights of the Day is the raising of the Commonwealth flag outside the Town Hall in the presence of the Mayor, who makes a short following speech. There is a clear and distinctive link between the concept of the Commonwealth family of nations, and the vigorous attempts by Fairtrade Town groups like ours to assist small farmers in various Third World countries to markedly improve their standard of living by offering fair prices for what they grow and produce.

The day was structured into three main parts. Firstly, our Group – helped by a staff member from the Colchester Oxfam Shop – put on the Breakfast from between 8.30 and 10.00. This meant that we had to get up awfully early and get organised before the customers arrived ! Secondly, during the Day as a whole, there were a number of attractive stalls displaying an array of handicrafts and other products, including food, for sale. Each one represented a different part of the Commonwealth. Thirdly, as an addition to last year’s programme, our Group offered cups of Fairtrade tea and coffee with cakes and biscuits to customers between 4 o’clock and 6 o’clock.

The feeling among Group members was that the Day had been very successful – quite substantially more successful than the similar event last year as ......

  • We had a higher number of customers this year – we served 120 breakfasts and 50 teas
  • We more than covered our costs – bringing in £160.00 in donations.
  • We attracted a wider range of customers – including a group of local schoolchildren, members of Colchester Trades Council, soldiers from the Colchester Garrison, a number of Borough Councillors, the Bishop of Colchester and other members of various churches, and our High Steward
  • We obtained a wider range of media coverage for the event in two local papers than last year.

I think that it shows the strength and success of our relationship with the Borough Council that we have been invited to take part in next year’s celebration of Commonwealth Day – so mark Monday, 12th March 2018 in your diaries !

  • Photos of the events by Joan Manhire



 


Traders Fair opening for Fairtrade Fortnight

[posted 160317]

  • Report from Joan Manhire

The Colchester Fairtrade Town group were granted a renewal of Fairtrade status in January 2017 after submitting a plan of action for the next two years. At the beginning of March we presented the certificate to the Mayor, Councillor Julie Young. The ceremony took place in the Mayor's Parlour in Colchester Town Hall. The certificate is now displayed in the Town Hall entrance.

 


Colchester keeps Its Title as a Fairtrade Town for another 2 years !

[posted 300117]

  • Report from Don Manhire

The Fairtrade Town Group has been very pleased to learn that the Fairtrade Foundation has for the fifth time renewed the status of Colchester as a Fairtrade Town. In fact, it all started back in 2006, and we have been successful in accomplishing this every two years since then.

The Fairtrade Foundation Campaigns Team, whose task it is to judge applications for Renewal of Status, were "particularly impressed" with the way that we had worked with the Borough Council in promoting Fairtrade products in the town. We remember the successful cooperation with the Council during last year’s Commonwealth Day Breakfast event – a success that we hope to emulate at a similar event in March.

The Team were equally impressed by our cooperation with the University of Essex in conducting a joint survey of commercial businesses at a local industrial estate. The aim here was to find out how far the staff of each business used Fairtrade products such as tea, coffee and sugar at break times.

We have also been taking part in local fairs and festivals, promoting Fairtrade at a local supermarket and working with local schools. We will be doing more of this over the next two years.


United Reform church Christmas display

[posted 101216]

  • Report by Elizabeth Fitt

This year our contribution to the United Reform Church Christmas Tree display in Colchester town centre was a simple but striking tree displaying fairly traded decorations that are available from our Traders Fair shop.

 

 


Fairtrade Tea at the Wivenhoe Black Buoy

[posted 111016]

  • Report by Joan Manhire

We were delighted to welcome the Mayor of Wivenhoe, Asa Aldis to our Fairtrade tea on September 20. It was held at the Black Buoy in Wivenhoe on a warm sunny afternoon, which allowed everyone to enjoy the Fairtrade tea and cakes in the garden.

Thanks to the generous donations of cakes and scones as well as the free use of the room and garden we were able to raise enough money to cover our expenses for another year.

 


Fairtrade Awareness Survey of Whitehall Industrial Estate

[posted 040516]

  • Report by Don Manhire

A Survey of Fairtrade Awareness of Businesses on the Whitehall Industrial Estate in Colchester March 2016

After completing a survey of Fairtrade awareness of businesses in the town centre, the Colchester Fairtrade Group wanted to do a similar one in an out of town Industrial Estate. After a number of attempts to establish a link with the University of Essex, a very successful collaboration was established in March 2016.

Dr Jane Hindley from the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities was able to use the survey with some second year students from the BA module “Doing Research for a BA Dissertation : Approaches, Methods and Practice”.

The day of the survey was cold, wet and windy but the students successfully completed 52 interviews, which represents just under half of the businesses on the Whitehall Estate. They reported that they enjoyed the experience and they felt that the survey had contributed to raising awareness of Fairtrade.

  • Survey Results

83% of the people interviewed recognised the Fairtrade logo and 62% thought they knew what was special about Fairtrade products. It was very pleasing to see that 58% were able to give a good definition of Fairtrade. For example, many mentioned a fair price or a fair deal for the farmers. A few mentioned more ethical or fairer treatment of the Producers. This does seem to confirm that Fairtrade is a much more recognisable concept than 10 years ago when Colchester first gained its Fairtrade Town status.

46% of the interviewees knew that the major supermarkets have their own brands of Fairtrade products at similar prices to alternatives. Hopefully, some of the ones who were not aware of this might look at a Fairtrade alternative to their regular brand.

87% of the businesses provided tea and coffee for the staff and of these, 23% were already using Fairtrade. 85% of those not providing Fairtrade refreshments said they would consider it in future.

  • Conclusion

This was a very successful exercise and a valuable link between the Colchester Fairtrade Town Group and the University of Essex. We hope that it might be possible to repeat the survey in a different area of the town in the future.


Fairtrade Fortnight: Breakfast at the Town Hall

[posted 180316]

  • Report by Joan Manhire

On Monday 14 March the Colchester Fairtrade Town group organised a Fairtrade Big Breakfast at the Town Hall. This was our main event for Fairtrade Fortnight and was part of the Mayor's Commonwealth day celebrations.

The breakfast was sponsored by the East of England Coop and 58 people enjoyed Fairtrade muesli, bananas, a range of jams, marmalades and honey served with orange juice, tea and coffee.

People welcomed the opportunity to eat a delicious breakfast with others and appreciated the range of Fairtrade products which we can use on a daily basis.

There were many requests for another one next year !


Christmas Tree Fair at URC Church

[posted 101215]

  • By Joan Manhire

Lion Walk URC Church held a Christmas Tree Fair this year

The Colchester Fairtrade Town group contributed a Fairtrade Tree !

 


Traders Fair shop - new website and Christmas opening Saturdays

[posted 241015]

  • By Sue Fox

In the run up to Christmas, Traders Fair will be opening on the following Saturdays, 1000 to 1600....

  • October 31st
  • November 21st
  • November 28th
  • December 5th
  • December 19th

We will still be open as usual every Wednesday 9.00 - 5.00

Find all this and lots more on our new website at tradersfair.co.uk

The shop is located in the foyer of Lion Walk URC church in the Precinct next to Costa Coffee, opposite Boots.


International Fairtrade Conference in Bristol

[posted 190715]

  • By Don Manhire

Two members of our Group (Don & Joan) recently attended a weekend International Fairtrade Conference in Bristol (4th-5th July).

We were very impressed by the sheer quality of the organisation behind a very successful Conference. Bristol's Harbour area is a very attractive venue for such a Conference. In addition, Bristolians are revelling in their city being chosen as the “Green Capital” of Europe for 2015. Bristol and the South-West is very probably years ahead of other Fairtrade Towns in the UK, as the Fairtrade concept has wide backing from the City Council - particularly its Mayor - the two Universities, private business, local schools and churches.

In the plenaries and discussion groups, the spirit and ethos of, and enthusiasm for, Fairtrade was very much to the fore, although the issue of “campaign fatigue” among other local groups elsewhere in the country was evident in a number of post-discussion post-it notes placed on wall boards.

My post-Conference feeling was one of revived enthusiasm for Fairtrade, given the sheer wealth of activity in promoting it in different parts of the world and hearing testimony from a lady from Nicaragua about the challenges facing Fairtrade cooperatives in her country

There are new concepts and ideas in the pipeline such as Fairtrade Towns in the Global South and the promotion of Fairtrade Gold

The venue and date for the next International Conference is not yet known, but I might be tempted to go !

  • More info ....

There's loads more interesting information about the conference available via the following websites:-

Fairtrade Towns Network

Bristol Fairtrade Town

Delegates gather at the Conference

 


Opening days/times change at Traders Fair shop

[posted 120315]

  • By Sue Fox

Traders Fair is now open 0900 to 1700 on Wednesdays only.
We will no longer be open on Thursday or Friday.
A change to longer hours for customers' convenience.
Change more lives of producers by a change to as many Fairtrade products as possible.
The shop is located in the foyer of Lion Walk URC church in the Precinct next to Costa Coffee, opposite Boots.


Big Fairtrade Banana at Sainsburys

[posted 070315]

  • Report from Joan Manhire

On March,5 the Colchester Fairtrade Group hosted a Fairtrade Tea at the Foresters pub on Castle Road. There were lots of Fairtrade cakes and scones as well as tea and coffee. We were delighted that so many people turned up to enjoy the occasion.

We would like to thank the Landlady for allowing us to use her premises and the East of England Coop for providing ingredients.



Big Fairtrade Banana at Sainsburys

[posted 050315]

  • Report from Joan Manhire

The Colchester Fairtrade Group handed out leaflets and spoke to shoppers about the importance of buying Fairtrade products when the Big Fairtrade Banana visited Sainsburys, Stanway on Tuesday March 3rd 2015



Fairtrade Fortnight at Traders Fair shop

[posted 250215]

The Traders Fair shop will reopen in Fairtrade Fortnight and will be showing a DVD called "Fairtrade Matters"
The shop is located in the foyer of Lion Walk church in the Precinct next to Costa Coffee, opposite Boots.


Presentation of Fairtrade Town certificate

[posted 250215]

Fairtrade Fortnight 2015 is from Monday 23 February to Sunday 8 March.
Ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight, we were able to present the latest Fairtrade Town Certificate to the Mayor of Colchester in the Council Chamber before the full Council meeting.
Before presenting the Certificate, Joan Manhire outlined the work of the Fairtrade Town Group to the Councillors and emphasised why buying Fairtrade is so important in changing people's lives for the better. She thanked the Council for supporting the Fairtrade movement in Colchester.

  • Transcript of Joan Manhire's presentation to the Council

Mr. Mayor and Members of the Council

Introduction
My name is Joan Manhire. I am the Chair of the Colchester Fair-trade Town Group. As you will probably know, Colchester has been a Fairtrade Town since 2006 – and last year we renewed our Fairtrade Town status for the fourth time. The Group aims to raise awareness of the idea of Fairtrade and of its products in workplaces , among community and faith groups and among retailers

Our Achievements
Looking back over the last two years, much has been achieved by a small group of dedicated volunteers :
We have maintained our links with the Council through its own website and the display of the last Certificate at the Town Hall. We were also able to hold an event on Fairtrade with a Ghanaian theme in the Mayor’s parlour during Fairtrade Fortnight 2013. We would like to thank the Council and its Officers for their support.
We have produced an on-line Directory of shops and cafes which sell Fairtrade products within Colchester
We have held several food-tasting events and a Fairtrade cake sale at local supermarkets and a local pub.
We turned out in force along East Hill – and in the rain - to wave our Team Fair flags when the Olympic Flame came through Colchester
We have developed a breakfast pack for schools, which includes games + puzzles relating to Fairtrade
We achieved a first within the UK, when Colchester Buddhist Centre received Fairtrade status in its own right
A further group of volunteers runs the Traders Fair shop in the foyer of Lion Walk Church – behind the Tower and next to Costa Coffee - every Wednesday

Why Fairtrade ?
In promoting Fairtrade in Colchester, we must remember why we are doing this. Put simply, it can radically change people’s lives for the better and provide them with more secure livelihoods. Third World farmers are too often at the mercy of wildly fluctuating world market prices . The Fairtrade marketing system can offer two essential things :
Stable prices based on a minimum floor price
A Fairtrade premium, which enables communities to invest in basic facilities such as school buildings, better roads and health centres

Looking to the future
From this brief review, Members will see that the support of this Council is essential in maintaining our Fairtrade Town status – and we look forward to your continuing support.
I would like to thank the Mayor for agreeing to accept the new Fairtrade Certificate on your behalf.
We would like to invite you all to a Fairtrade Tea at the Foresters pub in Roman Road on Thursday, 5th March from 2.00 – 5.00 PM


Fairtrade promotion video by Yorkshire campaign

[posted 090714]

Our Sister group in Yorkshire has created a great promotion video to coincide with the start of the Tour de France bike race

Do take a look and share with your network

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXTbH3eCdYI


Fairtrade at 20

[posted 040714]

  • Report from Don Manhire

It was 20 years ago that a group of people had a brilliant idea ! To challenge the injustice to Third World farmers of low prices for their produce by helping UK shoppers buy this produce at fair prices. The Fairtrade Foundation and local campaigners have made very significant progress with this - but there is still a lot to do.

Will YOU help ?


Make Bananas Fair Campaign

[posted 040714]

  • Report from Don Manhire

More than 50 people signed the petition at the Wivenhoe Coop at our Saturday morning event during this year's Fairtrade Fortnight. Nationwide, over 70000 people signed the same petition.

The Fairtrade Foundation nationally launched this Campaign during the Fortnight to call attention to the supermarket price wars which are trapping Third World banana farmers in a cycle of poverty.

This Campaign is part of its wider ' Make Food Fair ' Campaign - a 3 year drive to call on the general public to use their power as consumers.

Many banana farmers and workers have seen their earnings cut in real terms as global exports have grown. Shockingly, the UK supermarket sector has almost halved the shelf price of loose bananas in the last 10 years even though the cost of producing bananas has doubled.

The 70000 petition signatures were handed into the office of Vince Cable, Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on Tuesday, May 13th. At the time, the sight of over 30 petitioners dressed up as bananas caused quite a spectacle in central London !

The Government is being asked to intervene in the supermarket price wars to help the banana farmers get a fair price for their produce.


Action on cheap bananas in Fairtrade Fortnight.

[posted 190314]

  • Report from Joan Manhire

As we have recently incorporated the Wivenhoe group, we decided to hold our event for Fairtrade Fortnight at the Coop in Wivenhoe. On Saturday, 8th March, members of the group and other willing helpers asked shoppers to sign a petition to the Business Secretary, Vince Cable. This was to ask him to investigate the scandalously low prices for loose bananas in most supermarkets. This makes the return for the farmers too low to be able to feed their families. While the price of bananas goes down the cost of production goes up.

We must persuade all the major supermarkets to make the price of loose bananas reflect their true cost so that banana farmers and workers can earn a decent living. We believe the government should step in to help to end the Banana price wars.

We were delighted by the response of the Wivenhoe shoppers - 50 people signed the petition in only 90 minutes!

We also carried out a short survey of over 60 shoppers to find out about their attitude to Fairtrade. 98% bought Fairtrade goods - 57% every week. The favourite purchases were Fairtrade tea, coffee and fruit. It is somewhat disappointing that only 36% knew that Colchester is a Fairtrade Town, so we still have plenty of work to do!

Thanks to everyone who took part in this event.


One World Week Celebrations at Castle Methodist Church

[posted 301013]

  • Report from Fairtrade Colchester Team's Don Manhire
  • Photos by team member Elizabeth Fitt

This year's "One World Week" was celebrated in style by a major event at the Castle Methodist Church on Saturday, 19th October, when Colchester Fairtrade Town Group put on some magnificent displays of Fairtrade arts and crafts, complemented by a range of books and other resources for teachers and their pupils.

 

The throngs of people coming in were able to participate in specially compiled quizzes and other games, and could enjoy Fairtrade tea, coffee and home-made cakes.

Proceeds from sales realised a handsome profit - the Group itself made £85.00, while the Traidcraft and Traders Fair stalls drew in over £100.00.

The Fairtrade Group would like to extend its grateful thanks to the Castle Methodist Church for donating the cost of hiring the hall.

Encouraged by this successful venture, we hope to mount a similar event in 2014


Fairtrade Tea Party

[posted 240313]

  • Report from Joan Manhire

This was held at the Town Hall Mayoral Suite on Thursday, 28 February. Guests included the Mayoress and Councillors Tim Young and Helen Chuah. We enjoyed Fairtrade refreshments provided by the East of England Coop and members of the Steering Group.

We were given an insight into the process of applying for Fairtrade status by Winfred Gelli of Elikem farmer's cooperative in Ghana.

There was a display of Adinkra printing which had been produced at an educational workshop organised by DEEL at the Greenstead Cooperative Resources Centre.

This was a successful event and the highlight of our Fairtrade Fortnight activities.


Fairtrade Fortnight Food Tasting

[posted 240313]

  • Report from Joan Manhire

This is becoming a regular feature of Fairtrade Fortnight and was held at the Peartree Road Coop.

We carried out the Fairtrade awareness survey and found that about a quarter of the respondents knew that Colchester is a Fairtrade town.

Still a long way to go, but a significant increase on last year's results!


Fairtrade Fortnight display at Tourist Information Bureau

[posted 240313]

  • Report from Joan Manhire

We were delighted that we were given a prominent position for a display on Fairtrade for the whole of Fairtrade Fortnight. Our thanks go to Councillor Tim Young and the staff at the Tourist Information Office in Queen Street.


Colchester's Fairtrade Town certificate renewed

[posted 191212]

  • Report from Joan Manhire

The presentation of the Certificate of Fairtrade Town renewal in the Mayor's Parlour at the Town Hall on Monday, 17th December 2012.

We had representatives from the Colchester  Council and the East of England Coop as well as the Fairtrade Town Group.


Fairtrade Christmas at Lion Walk church

[posted 191212]

  • Report from Joan Manhire

This Fairtrade Christmas tree was in the Christmas tree festival at Lion Walk Church. It was prepared by the Traders Fair shop and the Fairtrade Town Group.


An enlightening and enjoyable day in Cambridge

[posted 251112]

  • Report from Don Manhire

My wife Joan and I travelled with great expectations to the first regional meeting of Fairtrade Town groups in the East of England, which was held at the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge yesterday (Saturday 24th November). In spite of a dark day dogged by morning mists and evening rain, our expectations were fulfilled.

The venue was excellent, situated close to the town centre and Parkers Piece. The lunch was great and enhanced by some marvellous Fairtrade fruit drinks – I tried banana – provided by a new venture, which is only operating at present in Cambridge through outlets other than supermarkets.

The keynote speaker in the morning session was Nicholas Faisal, a Fairtrade banana farmer from the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. He provided an excellent insight into the practical problems faced by farmers there, but also showed the very tangible benefits that had been reaped from the Fairtrade community bonus (on top of the fair price paid for the bananas themselves).

Later in the morning, we both went to a workshop run by two Fairtrade Foundation campaigns staff, Joanna Milis and Faith Holland, under the title of "What next for your Fairtrade campaign ?", where we learned to our delight that there was a Fairtrade Town group in nearby Sudbury. We intend to maintain this initial contact.

Furthermore, the discussion produced some sparkling new ideas such as a garden flower arrangement at the local railway station to advertise your town as a Fairtrade Town, or to use unemployed graduates as "interns" to help with group activities such as surveys. We are hoping to get some guidance on this from Fairtrade Foundation staff in due course on the latter.

Immediately after lunch, there was an election for a regional representative to the National Campaigner Committee, for which there were three candidates, including myself. I was not successful !

Later in the afternoon, Joan went separately to a workshop on the rather interesting and basic theme of "What do we understand by the term "fair"?", while I sent myself to wrestle with one on "Extreme Poverty : what you and I can do about it"! The main themes in mine were "land and ocean grabs" and "empowerment of women".

Although rather drained at the end of the day, we both look forward with great enthusiasm to the next Fairtrade Foundation conference !


Fairtrade Supporters Conference in London, 6th October 2012

[posted 231112]

  • Report from Don and Joan Manhire

This is the kind of event that renews your enthusiasm for the Fairtrade cause!

It was held in the Mermaid Conference centre in London on a beautiful sunny autumn day. We could watch the river traffic on the Thames as we enjoyed our Fairtrade coffee and prepared for the speeches and workshops on offer.

The speeches were inspirational and the workshops full of ideas to avoid the group having to “reinvent the wheel”!

Two of us managed to learn about the progress on the production of Fairtrade gold, how to improve our engagement with local businesses and some new ideas about funding the Fairtrade campaign.

We were able to help the campaign to persuade the National Trust to serve Fairtrade tea as well as coffee at their properties, collected lots of leaflets including Fairtrade cotton for school uniforms (www.koolskools.co.uk) and had a preview of next year’s Fairtrade Fortnight (25 February to 10 March 2013)

We would thoroughly recommend the annual conference to all Fairtrade supporters.


Traders Fair shop reopens after Summer break

[posted 300812]

The Traders Fair shop opposite Boots closed during the summer whilst work was done on the windows of the front porch of Lion Walk Church.
They will be reopening on Wednesday 5th September at 11am with a Grand Sale. Good reductions on many craft items.
Opening hours 11am – 3.30pm, Weds, Thurs, Friday


Fairtrade Town Campaign greets Olympic Torch relay

[posted 110812]

Members of the Colchester Fairtrade Town campaign turned out on East Hill to mark the passage of the Olympic Torch through Colchester, waving Fairtrade flags and raising awareness of our cause

The flame was transferred from torch to torch along the relay route

It was an enjoyable event in spite of the early hour and the drizzle


An Eventful Fairtrade Fortnight in Colchester

[posted 150312]

The Group has been busily involved in promoting Fairtrade produce through varied events during the Fortnight ( 27th February – 11th March ). These have included :-

  • Sales and food tastings at three churches in Colchester. This kind of event is spearheaded by two of our Group through Traders Fair, whose main outlet is a shop based in the United Reform Church at Lion Walk in the centre of town.

  • Working with Colchester Zoo to promote sales of their Fairtrade toys in their shop by supplying Fairtrade Fortnight posters and leaflets. In this way, we established a new link in the local business community with what is anyway a major attraction for local people and visitors to the town.

  • We renewed our link with the University of Essex through its student Environmental Group and Charity Society. There is often a real danger of students at the University and town residents living in separate, but parallel, worlds. However, we hope that this has been partially overcome by our sale and food-tasting event at the University, when one of our Group gave a short talk to seven students from its Environmental Group. We have also successfully invited the President of the Charity Society to a recent Group meeting, and hope that this particular link will be maintained.

  • Another of our members has established a delightful Fairtrade café in premises near to Highwoods Tesco. The Oaktree Coffee House put on a special display of food and non-food items for the Fortnight, and maintains its reputation as a very attractive venue and going concern for the promotion of the Fairtrade ethic.

  • We held two separate food-tasting events at firstly, the Coop superstore in Abbott’s Road and secondly, at the larger store in Peartree Road, Stanway. We were given every assistance by the staff at each store as well as by our established contact within the central administration of the East of England Coop. We used both opportunities to ask a sample of customers about their purchases of Fairtrade products. Customers are clearly very familiar nowadays with the Fairtrade logo, but only a relative few ( 1 in 3 ) are yet aware that Colchester has enjoyed its status as a Fairtrade Town ( in the company of 538 others in the UK ) for over 5 years !

In parallel with our preparations for the Fortnight, the Group has been equally devoting its energies in putting together a 2-year Forward Plan for submission to the Fairtrade Foundation later this month. This is a necessary and preliminary step in seeking to renew Colchester’s status as a Fairtrade Town for the further period of 2012 / 14.

[Article by Don Manhire]


Fairtrade Fortnight promotional video

[posted 020312]

The Fairtrade Foundation has created a great video to promote Fairtrade Fortnight 2012

Take a look.  Enjoy


Fairtrade Stalls in Colchester

[posted 031011]

Colchester Traders Fair ran two very successful stalls at recent events - the Town's famous Oyster Festival and the launch event for Colchester Black History Month

Oyster Festival in Castle Park:-

Black History Month launch at Colchester Arts Centre:-

Our heartfelt thanks to all who ran the stalls and helped raise awareness of Fairtrade arts and crafts


Fairtrade Fortnight promotion events

[posted 020611]

During Fairtrade Fortnight the Colchester “Fairtraders” were out and about in the town to promote awareness of Fairtrade and to encourage people to buy Fairtrade products.

On Saturday March 5th they held a “Big Brew” cafe at Colchester Baptist Church in Eld Lane.  Shoppers enjoyed Fairtrade coffee tea and homemade cakes while taking part in a quiz.

On Saturday March 12th there was an opportunity for shoppers at the Peartree Road Coop to sample a range of Fairtrade products, including chocolate, cakes, biscuits and fresh and dried fruits. There was an enthusiastic response and there was a run on the Fairtrade ginger cake, which many people enjoyed!

At the same time, we tried to find out whether shoppers at the Coop were aware of Fairtrade and whether they bought Fairtrade products on a regular basis. We found that 96% recognised the Fairtrade mark and 89% bought some Fairtrade products. 80% knew that buying Fairtrade helps the producers to provide essential services such as schools for their villages. However, only 48% knew that Colchester is a Fairtrade Town, so we will be working on this!

We were encouraged to see other examples of events in the town such as at the Oaktree café at Highwoods.

[Report from Don Manhire]


Traders Fair Shop Sale or Return boxes

[posted 190211]

Traders Fair offer Sale or Return boxes which give you a basic selection of items to sell in a Tuck shop or as a Fair Trade stall in your school, church or organisation. Products come already priced and listed and you return any unsold items after an agreed period with a cheque to pay for goods sold.

A box allows you to find out the most popular products with no risk of you losing money. If you are thinking of setting up a more permanent outlet we can help you with possible suppliers and websites. If you are unable to do your own buying we are happy to put together a Sale or Return box for you at any time on request.

Because we are a small volunteer group we do ask that you give us as at least 3 weeks notice, longer if possible. There is no charge for this service but we do have to ask you to collect and deliver back to us.

Please phone 01206 790677 if you are interested in the scheme


Survey of Town Centre Retail Businesses

[posted 291110]

During the summer of 2010 the Colchester Fair Trade Town Group conducted a survey of local small businesses in the town centre to explore the extent of their awareness and use of fairly traded products.

The questions covered two distinct areas. The first set of questions covered the awareness of general Fair Trade issues and Colchester’s Fair Trade Town status.

Of the 157 business approached:-

84% were familiar with the Fairtrade mark

12% knew that Colchester had become a Fair Trade town in 2006

35% were aware that the town would need to continue to promote Fair Trade to retain our Fair Trade Town status

77% were aware that supermarkets have “own brand” fairly traded products.

The second set of questions explored the business’ own use of fairly traded products in their provision of staff refreshments.

Of the 157 businesses approached:-

30% were using fairly traded products and 54% were not. The remaining businesses either made no internal provision for staff refreshments or were unaware of the products used.

Of those not currently using fairly traded products at least 68% might consider using such products in the future. About 10% of the others indicated that their refreshments were provided by their head office and therefore that they had no control on which products were purchased.

The group are grateful to the representatives of the businesses approached almost all of whom were willing to respond to the short set of questions in the survey.


Traders Fair at Lion Walk United Reform Church

[posted 191010]

Traders Fair, Colchester's independent fair trade shop, has now been in its new site for a year. If you have not found us yet we are in the foyer Of Lion Walk United Reformed Church. Check out the Traders Fair page at the Lion Walk Church website for information and pictures.

We are stocking more crafts.

The great success of the Fairtrade mark and public demand means that most supermarkets have a wide range of fairly traded goods on their shelves.

There is not the same wide commercial high street market for fair trade crafts owing to the fact that there is no recognised certification label at the moment.

Our craft stock comes from Traidcraft, Tearcraft (now trading as Created) and suppliers and importers registered with The British Association for Fair Trade Shops (BAFTS)

BAFTS shops like us buy from recognised importers committed to paying the producer a fair price and knowing that the workers involved receive a good living wage.

Craft producers are often family or small groups or women and a steady fair income makes a huge difference to their lives. They also receive advice on product development to increase access to markets and a commitment to long term relationships to provide stability and security.  So the more crafts we can sell the better.

We have some great Christmas presents.

We will do our best to supply what you want so please don't hesitate to ask.

Thank you for your continued support which means better conditions for some of the most marginalised people in the world.


Presentation of the Fairtrade Town Certificate to the Deputy Mayor

[posted 171010]

As a new feature, the Fairtrade Foundation is now awarding a Certificate to all towns in the country that achieve Fairtrade Town status for the first time, or are renewing that status for another 2 years.

On Thursday, 23rd September 2010, members of the Colchester Fairtrade Town Steering Group met the Deputy Mayoress, Helen Chuah, in her Parlour at the Town Hall, to present the Certificate, which will be displayed in a prominent position within the Town Hall.

There was coverage of this event in both the “Essex County Standard” (17/09/10) and the “Evening Gazette” (27/09/10)


Survey of Town Centre Retail Businesses

[posted 171010]

One of the major activities of the Colchester Fairtrade Town Group this Autumn is the undertaking a of a comprehensive survey of retail and other businesses in the town centre.

The survey has two main aims :-

(a)  To find out how far people running these businesses are aware of Fairtrade in general, and the fact that Colchester has been a Fairtrade Town since 2006

(b)  To ascertain whether staff working in these businesses actually use Fairtrade products (coffee, tea and sugar) during their refreshment breaks.

Initial experience from the survey indicates that staff are generally willing to cooperate in answering 6 standard questions, which takes about half a minute to administer.

Restaurants and cafes have been left out of this survey, as it is intended to cover them in a subsequent survey.

Results from the first phase of this survey indicate that :-

(a)  Only 4% of interviewees realised that Colchester is a Fairtrade Town
(b)  Only 21% of businesses use Fairtrade products for staff refreshments
(c)  However, as many as 73% of interviewees recognised the Fairtrade logo, when it was shown to them.

When the survey of town centre businesses is completed later in the autumn, the Group intends to give consideration to extending the survey to businesses outside the town centre; for example, in business parks.


Renewal of Fairtrade Status for Colchester

[posted 050410]

Colchester Fairtraders are celebrating because Colchester’s status as a Fairtrade Town has been renewed by the Fairtrade Foundation on 24th March 2010.

The successful application for renewal was the result of a lot of hard work by different members of the Fairtrade Town Group, who have been collecting information about Fairtrade events in Colchester during the last two years. We have some very flattering feedback from the Foundation, who say that “it is fantastic to see the level of dedication towards the local campaign, which is still evidently growing strong with the steady support of the (District) Council” and “congratulations on an exceptional renewal application for Fairtrade status…. fantastic work ! ”

Our next renewal application will be due in March 2012…. So let’s take a deep breath, then off we go again ….


Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 in Colchester

[posted 050410]

The theme of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight was “The Big Swap”. The Fairtrade Town Group has been encouraging people to swap their usual purchases for fairly traded brands. We held two events on this theme….

1)  The Mayor's Fairtrade Tea Party

On March 12th, the Mayor of Colchester, Cllr. Henry Spyvee, hosted a “Big Tea Party” in the Mayoral Suite at Colchester Town Hall. Guests enjoyed Fairtrade tea, orange juice and biscuits, which the Council kindly sponsored. Participants included pupils, staff and parents from four junior schools (St. Andrew's Junior, Greenstead; Highwoods Primary; Broomgrove Junior; and St. Thomas More RC), plus ten Councillors and members of the Fairtrade Town Group – a lively gathering of about 50 people ! In addition, we welcomed special guests Winfred Gelli and Peter Jones from NGO Elikem, who are working in Ghanaian schools and local communities to gain Fairtrade accreditation for 10 of their farm products.

Among the highlights of the event were:-

  • A display of work on the Fairtrade theme produced by pupils from the participating schools (see the accompanying photos below)
  • A giant blow-up mug of tea, which was the focus for press photos of the mayor with the children from the schools
  • A presentation by the Mayor of certificates to each child to mark their attendance at the event
  • An exciting quiz to test how much participants knew about the production of tea

We have been encouraged by the very positive feedback following this event, and we were equally pleased to get coverage in the local paper.

Photos taken by Don and Joan Manhire ©, members of the Fairtrade Campaign Group:-




2)  Ubuntu Fairtrade Cola promotion at Waitrose supermarket

(“Ubuntu” is an ancient Zulu expression, which signifies that everybody depends on everyone else, and nobody is left wanting)

On March 27th, we organised a second “Big Swap” event at our local Waitrose supermarket in conjunction with a relative newcomer to Fairtrade, Ubuntu based in London.

Why Waitrose ?   It is at present the only major supermarket chain which stocks Ubuntu Cola at several of its outlets. Ubuntu itself is a 100% Fairtrade company, which guarantees to give 15% of its profits back to the sugar producers in Malawi and Zambia.

See the Ubuntu Cola website for further information

More than 150 customers sampled the Cola, and many of them liked the cane sugar flavour…. although half thought it was sweeter and half less sweet than their normal cola… no accounting for taste !

We were encouraged that several customers purchased more than one can of Ubuntu cola, and Waitrose had to restock their shelves !

The Waitrose management were very supportive, and both the Campaign Group and Catherine Brogan from Ubuntu thought this event was very successful.

Photos taken by David Lankshear ©, member of the Fairtrade Campaign Group:-



Last updated:  Tuesday, 21 March, 2017