We have entered both the Lion Walk and Eld Lane Baptist church Christmas Tree festivals
in Colchester this year. The Angels were produced using out of date development education
resources and the tree and its baubles are all fairly traded items which are for sale
from Traders Fair at Lion Walk church.
at Colchester Farmers' Market
Report from Don Manhire
It was great today (April 6th 2018) for the Fairtrade Group to participate in the
monthly Colchester Farmers' Market at the Colchester Arts Centre.
There was a good range of stalls selling everything from beer to bread to meat
to cheesecake! Our job was simply to offer the refreshments - Fairtrade tea, coffee
& biscuits - generously provided by the Coop. We were able to talk to our numerous
customers about Fairtrade, and we were astonished to receive over £30.00 in
Encouraged by this, we are planning another similar event at the December (Christmas)
Thanks to the Coop
for our Fairtrade Fortnight materials
Colchester Fairtrade Group would like to thank the East of England Coop for their
provision of Fairtrade tea and coffee for the events in and around Fairtrade Fortnight.
Fairtrade at Colchester
Christmas Tree Festival
Report from Elizabeth Fitt
This year we entered a second Christmas Tree Festival, this time at Colchester
Baptist Church, Eld Lane. The tree is decorated with items available to purchase from
Traders Fair World Shop.
The shop is located at Lion Walk Church and at present is open Wednesdays and Saturdays.
on Fairtrade Tea
A report by Don Manhire ........
Several members of our Colchester Fairtrade Town Group descended on Sainsbury's
in the town centre today to challenge the retailer's recent decision to label its
Red Label and Gold Label Tea as ' fairly traded ' rather than ' Fairtrade '.
This change in labelling may seem pedantic and confusing to the average consumer
looking to buy ethical products from a supermarket shelf.
So why is it that the Fairtrade Foundation and its army of supporters in this country
creating such a fuss about this change ?
And why are tea farmers in Kenya publicly opposed to this marketing move by Sainsbury's
The farmers see the change in labelling as taking away their power to decide where
to invest the Fairtrade Premium within their communities*. It constitutes a return
to a paternalistic or even colonial mindset by Sainsbury's, whereby its decision-makers
in the UK decide how the Premium money is spent. Such a mindset marks a real retreat
from the basic sensible idea of planning how to spend the money in close consultation
with the supposed beneficiaries. This new labelling regime of ' fairly traded ' is
thus set within Sainsbury's own standards rather than the independent standards set
by the Fairtrade Foundation.
* the Fairtrade Premium is an amount of money paid to tea producers in Third World
countries over and above a ' fair price ' for the tea itself. The use of this Premium
money would normally be decided by the farmers, not the supermarket company. It can
be spent on community facilities, such as a surgery, or on children, for example,
to pay school fees.
The photo below, by Michael Fox, shows members of Colchester Fairtrade Town Group
outside Sainsbury's. We each purchased some Red Label Tea, and then went to the Customer
Services counter to return it. The acting store manager kindly allowed us to get our
money back for each packet of tea. He and Sainsbury's were expecting our visit !
We also handed over a suitably-worded letter for onward transmission to Sainsbury's
CEO signed by 22 members of the public.
Use of Fairtrade -
Survey in Colchester Town Centre 2017
Report by Joan Manhire
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
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.
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
Fairtrade Goes to
Report from Don Manhire
Fairtrade Goes To Town !
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 Mayors
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 years programme, our Group offered cups of Fairtrade
tea and coffee with cakes and biscuits to customers between 4 oclock and 6 oclock.
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 years 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
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 !
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 years Commonwealth
Day Breakfast event a success that we hope to emulate at a similar event in
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
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
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
Survey of Whitehall Industrial Estate
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.
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
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.
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.
Breakfast at the Town Hall
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
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
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
By Sue Fox
In the run up to Christmas, Traders Fair will be opening on the following Saturdays,
1000 to 1600....
We will still be open as usual every Wednesday 9.00 - 5.00
The shop is located in the foyer of Lion Walk URC church in the Precinct next to
Costa Coffee, opposite Boots.
Conference in Bristol
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
Traders Fair is now open 0900 to 1700 on Wednesdays
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
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
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
at Traders Fair shop
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
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
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
Looking back over the last two years, much has been achieved by a small group of dedicated
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 Mayors 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
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
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 peoples 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
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
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
video by Yorkshire campaign
Our Sister group in Yorkshire has created a great promotion video to coincide with
the start of the Tour de France bike race
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
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.
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
Thanks to everyone who took part in this event.
One World Week
Celebrations at Castle Methodist Church
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
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.
Report from Joan Manhire
This is becoming a regular feature of Fairtrade Fortnight and was held at the Peartree
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!
display at Tourist Information Bureau
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.
Town certificate renewed
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.
at Lion Walk church
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
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 !
Conference in London, 6th October 2012
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 years
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
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
Campaign greets Olympic Torch relay
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
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 Abbotts
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 Colchesters status as a Fairtrade Town for the further period
of 2012 / 14.
[Article by Don Manhire]
The Fairtrade Foundation has created a great video to promote Fairtrade Fortnight
Take a look. Enjoy
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
During Fairtrade Fortnight the Colchester Fairtraders were out and
about in the town to promote awareness of Fairtrade and to encourage people to buy
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
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
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 Colchesters 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
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
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
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.
the Fairtrade Town Certificate to the Deputy Mayor
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
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
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
Colchester Fairtraders are celebrating because Colchesters 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 lets take
a deep breath, then off we go again .
2010 in Colchester
The theme of this years 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.
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
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