Fairtrade towns of Suffolk agree to form new organisation
Fairtrade in Suffolk received a significant boost recently when all the existing Fairtrade towns in Suffolk got together in Bradfield St George, near Bury St Edmunds, and agreed to form a new organisation ‘The Suffolk Association of Fairtrade Towns (SAFT)’. Richard Stainer, who is a member of the Bury St Edmunds steering group, agreed to chair the group for its first year. He said: “I am really pleased that all seven active Fairtrade Towns in Suffolk were able to come together for this meeting, held on Saturday 30 July.
Special Guest stresses importance of volunteers
Our special guest was Michael Gidney, the Chief Executive of the Fairtrade Foundation and he stressed to us how important the voluntary movement throughout the country is in maintaining pressure on supermarkets and other outlets to stock and promote Fairtrade goods. By bringing all the towns together in this association we hope to support each other and build on each other’s strengths to promote Fairtrade throughout Suffolk. The inspiration for setting up this group was the visit of Patrick Kaberia, a Fairtrade tea farmer from Kenya who visited all the Fairtrade towns in Suffolk earlier this year during Fairtrade fortnight. He explained to us how the Fairtrade movement has made such a difference to areas such as his in Michimikuru in providing stability, fair prices and advice on sustainability. In addition the Fairtrade premium, paid to all Fairtrade producers, has enabled his community to invest in projects such as providing better schooling for its rising generation. Michael Gidney told us that Patrick’s experience was typical and that some 500 studies annually show the benefits that Fairtrade brings to communities in the developing world.”
Website to be revised and expanded
The Suffolk Fairtrade towns already have a website at www.suffolkfairtrade.org.uk and this will now be revised and expanded to reflect the formation of the new association. Anyone wishing to support Fairtrade in Suffolk is welcome to visit the site where there are links to the websites and Facebook pages of the individual towns and the Fairtrade Foundation. The towns will continue to be the main focus of effort for promoting Fairtrade and they will certainly all welcome further supporters to the cause. The seven Fairtrade Towns involved in the new association are: Beccles, Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe, Framlingham, Ipswich, Lowestoft, and Sudbury.