A tragic loss

Fairtrade Yorkshire mourns the loss of Jo Cox, the MP for Batley and Spen who was killed on Thursday.  Our prayers are with her family.

Batley and Spen was the first Fairtrade Zone to be based on a Parliamentary Constituency and Rev Tina Walker of Fairtrade Batley and Spen has worked closely with Jo Cox on the promotion of Fair Trade in the constituency.

Jo Cox and Rev Tina Walker

Jo Cox and Rev Tina Walker

Here Tina shares here thoughts about Jo:

“Jo Cox tackled difficult issues with passion and conviction.

Jo met people warmly, listened to them, and left them feeling she considered them her friend. She was warm, witty, intelligent, inspiring. She worked very hard for the people in her Constituency here in Batley & Spen, she was well-regarded in Westminster.

She wholeheartedly supported Fairtrade.

I have clear memories of Jo running the Fairtrade Hook-a-Fish Game with us at Batley Festival: totally relaxed and at-home talking with the young children. Also of Jo seeing the Fairtrade stall at Wilton Park, and rushing over to greet us, affirming the work we were doing, and offering to help us, wanting to be part of it.

In February, Jo wrote to every primary school in Batley & Spen, inviting them to the Fairtrade Schools Conference taking place in Fairtrade Fortnight. The Conference took place at the Al-Hikmah Centre in Batley, and Jo presented Fairtrade Certificates and Fairtrade footballs to the 12 schools that took part. Jo invited questions from the schoolchildren and answered them honestly and encouragingly. Jo told the children that she had worked abroad and seen people’s lives over there, and wanted to change lives for the better.Jo roses

Jo was vitally enthusiastic about social justice. She was passionate about equality.”

Jo Cox was committed to international development and upholding human rights.  Before becoming an MP she had been a dedicated worker for Oxfam, helping to see their vision of a world without poverty transformed into policy.  She was passionately concerned about the plight of the people of Syria and worked to ensure that they were not disregarded.

Jo Cox had a vision for a strong Britain.  A Britain which is compassionate and willing to lend a helping hand. Fairtrade is just one of the causes that Jo supported in order that the people of Britain can contribute to the work towards global justice.  Jo’s vision was that Britain should not retreat into introspection but should play its part in the world; working for justice wherever it is needed.  She worked tirelessly for justice in Batley, in Westminster, in her work for Oxfam and called for Britain to play its part in Europe and across the world, helping to make this a fairer world.  Jo will be sadly missed.

Posted on June 18th, 2016 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Halifax: Agents of Change

Halifax Minster opened its doors to school children from 9 schools across Halifax on Friday 13th May, to celebrate World Fairtrade Day at a fairandfunky Fairtrade Conference for Schools.

The event is part of the campaign, spearheaded by Holly Lynch MP, to achieve Fairtrade Town status for Halifax; “The campaign to make Halifax a Fairtrade town includes our schools,” Holly Lynch MP explains, “the conference was a great way to start conversations with our young people about Fairtrade and how we can give a helping hand, through trade rather than aid, to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Wedding Photography

Agents of change in Halifax Minster

Four different workshops invited delegates to ‘Stand up for farmers and be Agents of Change’ and students spent the day learning about Fairtrade and producers in Ghana, Columbia and Bolivia.

With Pockets Theatre students used dramatic performance to explore the affect of supermarket price wars on banana producers. Each child took part in short role-play provoking an emotional response to Fairtrade; discovering the power of the consumer.

In the fairandfunky workshop delegates were taken on a journey from bean to bar – discovering life as a cocoa farmer in Ghana and how important Fairtrade is to their community. Participants also learnt how to use ALL their senses to ‘taste’ delicious Divine Chocolate.

“I learnt that Fairtrade is very important and benefits farmers globally.” Charlotte

“I learnt that Fairtrade is good thing and that everyone can benefit, more people should be involved!” Matthew

With Liberation Nuts students learnt lots of interesting facts about nuts, the people who farm them, and discovered that Brazil nuts actually come from Bolivia!

In the Sea Pie Parcel workshop students learnt a specially written song for the conference: ‘Be An Agent For Change’ and composed their own pieces inspired by Fairtrade products. At the end of the day ALL students gathered to sing together in the beautiful setting of the Minster. To hear all compositions and the song please listen here:

The conference closed with certificate presentations from Holly Lynch MP who encouraged delegates to continue taking their own little steps to change the world with Fairtrade. And each student AND teacher left with a Fairtrade goody bag filled with treats from Divine Chocolate, Tropical Wholefoods, Liberation Nuts and smoothies from Natural Beverages Comapany – aiming to keep Fairtrade conversations going back at school and at home.

“An informative, enjoyable and interesting day, thank you!” Barkisland Primary School.

The conference also links local businesses with Fairtrade, welcoming Suma Wholefoods as a Conference Partner, “We strongly believe in Fairtrade at Suma and we’re keen to help spread the word so were delighted with the opportunity to support the fairandfunky conference and educate the young of Calderdale.” Nigel Kaye, Co-op member at Suma Wholefoods.


Posted on June 11th, 2016 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Choo Choose Fairtrade

Fairtrade Haworth this year teamed up with the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (the first Fairtrade steam railway in the world) and served breakfast on the 11am steam train for the 10 mile round trip on Saturday 5th March.FairTrain_Banana - Copy

Starting in Oxenhope where Morris dancers welcomed the Lord Mayor of Bradford we boarded the train along with musicians who entertained the passengers. Ryan the banana joined us in Haworth and on arrival in Keighley their Fairtrade group handed out roses.

We are extremely grateful for donations of food from Sainsbury’s, M&S, Liberation nuts, Tropical Wholefoods and Divine but especially the Co-op and the local store manager who joined us with his two sons.

Most passengers were unaware that there would be a free breakfast and we had great feedback from many who knew little about Fairtrade.

Rita Verity, Fairtrade Haworth

Chair of the KWVR (Keighley and Worth Valley railway) Matthew Stroh, The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Joanna Dodds, Rita Verity and Rev Chris Upton from Haworth Fairtrade Group

Chair of the KWVR (Keighley and Worth Valley railway) Matthew Stroh,
The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Joanne Dodds,
Rita Verity and Rev Chris Upton from Haworth Fairtrade Group

Posted on April 4th, 2016 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Fairtrade Fortnight 2016

FT-Breakfast-14 - CopyFairtrade Fortnight ran from 29th February to 13th March and involved a lot of early mornings as the theme for this year was breakfast. The Fairtrade Foundation reminded us of the words of Martin Luther King; ‘before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.’

SAM_6250 - CopyOver 500 events were held throughout Yorkshire to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight.  The Fortnight in Yorkshire was officially launched in York with an al fresco breakfast held outside of St. Michael Le Belfrey Church, adjacent to York Minster.  The Lord Mayor of York attended alongside Fairtrade supporters from across Yorkshire.

The theme of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight focussed on issues of food security. Millions of farmers and workers who are feeding the world are themselves going hungry. Fairtrade means farmers and workers can fulfil a human right we can often take for granted –putting food on the table. FT-Breakfast-2

Posted on March 22nd, 2016 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Super Diocese votes for Fairtrade

The Church of England super Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales has voted to work to become a Fairtrade Diocese.

A vote was taken at the Diocesan Synod on March 12th.Diocese

Synod members enthusiastically supported a motion to work towards becoming a Fairtrade Diocese by writing to all churches asking them, where not already registered, to register as a Fairtrade Church.  A letter will also be sent to all Church of England schools asking them, if not already registered, to register as a Fairtrade school – and a Fairtrade steering group will be set up to steer the registration of the Diocese as a Fairtrade Diocese.

The motion was put by Ven Bev Mason, Archdeacon of Richmond and Craven, pictured left with Kay Brown, Chaplain of Abbey Grange School who talked about the way schools can imaginatively adopt Fairtrade status.

The vote follows a campaign by Fairtrade supporters including: Barbara Judd, Heather Grinton and Rev Tina Walker who have worked hard to raise the profile of Fairtrade across the Diocese. Rev Tina said that she was ‘absolutely delighted and thrilled’ by the result of the Synod vote.

Posted on March 22nd, 2016 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Fairtrade Holme Valley storms Parliament

Peter Beetlestone, of Fairtrade Holme Valley, shares with us his experience of ‘storming Parliament’ when bravely he ventures to the South of England and the Houses of Parliament in London:

On March 1st 12 members of Fairtrade Holme Valley and 12 pupils from Honley High School went to Parliament to help launch the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) for Fairtrade.HVFT in PARLIAMENT

Helen Robinson and Sophie Bebb, of Fairtrade Holme Valley, have supported Holly Lynch (Labour, MP for Halifax) and Jason McCartney (Conservative, MP for Colne Valley) to set up this parliamentary group whose aim is “to promote Fairtrade within Parliament; to deepen the relationship between local Fairtrade organisations and parliamentarians and to further raise awareness of the importance of Fairtrade.”

When we arrived we were treated to a mini tour of Parliament by Jason McCartney MP. We were given passes to hear the emergency debate on Syria from the Public Gallery, we went on the terrace with fantastic views of the Thames and the buildings along the waterfront, we met Boris Johnson and David Blunkett (I nearly fell over his dog on the stairs).

At the two hour launch in the Jubilee Room we were joined by 37 MPs, representatives from the Fairtrade Foundation (including Tim Aldred), representatives from the Co-operative Group (including Kerry Stower, the store Manager in Holmfirth) and many others.

Over a Big All Day Breakfast (the theme for this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight) there were short speeches from Holly and Jason, from Helen, from the Secretary of State for International Development, from Mike Gidney (Chief Executive of the Fairtrade Foundation), from Brad Hill (Fairtrade Strategy Manager for the Co-op) and most importantly from Patrick (a tea farmer from Kenya) and Julio (a banana farmer from Columbia).

The two farmers spoke very movingly about how Fairtrade had brought great benefits to their families and their communities. One of the pupils said afterwards “he made me want to cry.” They made us all realise how important it is to keep promoting Fairtrade – supporting people to work their way out of poverty.

Peter Beetlestone, Fairtrade Holme Valley

Posted on March 22nd, 2016 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Bradford Fairtrade Zone


Collaboration was the order of the day on Saturday 5th March when Ilkley Fairtrade Group, Ilkley Soroptimists and local Girlguiding Rombalds District leaders organised an outdoor four hour ‘Big Fairtrade Breakfast’ event at Ilkley bandstand. Free Fairtrade hot chocolate, orange and apple juice were on offer, as well as freshly cooked pancakes with a range of Fairtrade toppings.

Ben Rhydding Community Choir

Ben Rhydding Community Choir

The drinks, bananas and pancake ingredients were kindly donated by the Co-op, M&S, Booths, Tesco and Greggs. There was a rolling programme of bandstand entertainment featuring The White Rose Chorus, Ben Rhydding Primary School choir, Ben Rhydding Community Choir, Leeds Briggate Morris dancers and a local saxophonist. Traidcraft items were on sale and the Ilkley Co-op manager raffled a hamper of Co-op Fairtrade goods. £400 was raised from breakfast donations and the hamper raffle, and was sent to a Fairtrade project in Kenya helping women earn an independent income from coffee farming. The funds went to this specific project to mark International Women’s Day and highlight the work that Fairtrade does to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Two local churches organised Fairtrade breakfasts during Fairtrade Fortnight, and Ilkley Fairtrade Group had one of the community stalls at the inaugural ‘Real Food Ilkley’ market on Sunday 6th March. The new market was a great success and provided the opportunity to explain how Fairtrade and local go hand in hand, helping support farmers both near and far.
Karen Palframan, Ilkley Fairtrade Group



More than 60 Fairtrade breakfasts were served in St John’s Church Hall, Baildon, on Saturday 19 March. Children from the uniformed groups had decorated paper plates with a Fairtrade breakfast and these were hung along Fairtrade bunting around the hall. Tables were set with Fairtrade products donated by the Co-op, marmalade made by members, and locally produced milk and butter.Baildon

Naturally some children brought along their parents to see their plates and a warm welcome was provided. All expressed their pleasure in the breakfast and seven people expressed an interest in joining the local Fairtrade group.

This event was also an opportunity for Baildon Friends of the Earth and Fairtrade Group to work together to communicate our shared concern for the world-wide issue of sustainability – protecting the environment and tackling climate change. A superb display on Fairtrade and the Sustainability Goals was on show as well as a Fairtrade stall.

Thanks to the generosity of the Co-op, Baildon Fairtrade Group has been able to send £160 to the Traidcraft Exchange fund. An enjoyable and successful event raised funds to support producer projects around the world.


With sunlight streaming through the West Window, 54 people sat down to enjoy a Fairtrade Breakfast, as well as locally produced milk, butter, bread and honey.10th Anniversary Bradford copy

Following the morning Eucharist service, the Lord Mayor, Councillor Joanne Dodds, cut a Fairtrade chocolate cake to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Bradford Fairtrade Zone. The Lord Mayor endorsed the decision of the Council meeting on 19th January this year, when it was overwhelmingly agreed that Bradford Council should renew the commitment to Fairtrade.


29th Feb. 2016Chris Farren with Karen, Anna and Mike at Fairtrade  Display

Business and community leaders met for a networking and information Fairtrade breakfast hosted by M&S in their Broadway store café. Presentations on Fairtrade and the Bradford Fairtrade Zone were given by Mike de Villiers and Karen Palframan, and the commitment of M&S to support, through Fairtrade, their producer communities was given by Chris Farren, M&S operations manager. Councillor Adrian Farley, the leader of a renewed commitment by Bradford M.D.C. to support Fairtrade and Bradford Fairtrade Zone, expressed his pleasure at the success of the venture in raising awareness at a venue in the city centre.

Watch the Fairtrade Fortnight video from M&S.


Baildon Fairtrade Town Stall in Northgate Co-op, Baildon, West Yorks, Friday March 4th.

A Fairtrade Breakfast display and samples of chocolate engaged shoppers to discuss the benefits of Fairtrade. As well as signing up to hold their own Fairtrade Breakfast, many shoppers came back to the stall to show us what Fairtrade products they had purchased for the first time. We registered 645 Fairtrade Breakfasts, the number including many shoppers who would be having a Fairtrade Breakfast each morning for the rest of the Fortnight.


Posted on March 22nd, 2016 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Leeds leads the way

Faith leaders were leading the way at Leeds’ Merrion Centre on Thursday 3rd March with the holding of a Fairtrade breakfast.

Breakfast at the merrion centre1 (2)
The Breakfast table looked very festive, with the banners and balloons and lots of shoppers paused to see what was going on.

There was a display of Fairtrade items for sale from the local Morrisons and also a display of Fairtrade items from the Beehive, the local Fairtrade shop.
Leaders from all faiths in Leeds were invited.  Amongst the attendees pictured are Bishop Paul Slater, Esther Hugenholtz, Krystal Holms, Gurmukh Singh, Usha Bhardwaj, Mr Birdi and Ashraf Hamad. It was lovely for everyone to mix and chat and at the same time have a grand breakfast.

Children have also been taking a lead in Leeds.

Schools from across West Yorkshire celebrated Fairtrade by designing and delivering their own workshops at a special event at Leeds Civic Hall on Friday March 4th.

The event, organised by Leeds Development Education Centre and Fairtrade Leeds is part of a wider national programme which aims to raise awareness of the millions of farmers and workers struggling to feed themselves and their families, while supplying our breakfast tables with food and drink, such as bananas, cocoa and coffee.

Fabian Hamilton MP presented schools with Global Learning Charter certificates, for work on valuing Global Learning within school. Greg Mulholland MP presented Bala footballs to students from local schools and then gave a short speech in which he encouraged local sports teams, such as Leeds Rhinos to use Fairtrade sports equipment. Greg congratulated Fairtrade as an organisation for branching out beyond food to other sustainable products, such as the Fairtrade footballs and Rugby balls.Leeds schools (2)

Last week Greg highlighted the importance of Fairtrade Fortnight in the House of Commons by tabling an Early Day Motion (EDM 1137) welcoming Fairtrade Fortnight 2016.

Commenting, Greg Mulholland MP said:

“I really enjoyed attending this fantastic event, which was very well organised by Leeds Development Education Centre. It is important that young people especially are encouraged to learn about Fairtrade produce and where their food comes from. As the consumers of the future, they have the power to change Britain’s buying habits.

It is terrible that the people we all depend on to grow food are not able to feed themselves and their families. Fairtrade do excellent work supporting these people, but more must be done to support the hundreds of millions of people going hungry across the world.”

Also commenting on the event, Hannah Langdana of the Leeds Development Education centre said:

“It was a fantastic event with children from across the city creating and delivering wonderful, hands on workshops on Fairtrade . It is another important step in making Leeds a Child Friendly City, where awareness about children’s rights locally and globally is raised. ”

Posted on March 22nd, 2016 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Busy time for Fairtrade in Craven

It has been a busy time in Craven schools during Fairtrade Fortnight.

Breakfast at Giggleswick Primary

Breakfast at Giggleswick Junior School

There were a total of 11 Fairtrade breakfasts in Craven primary schools, together with 4 Fairtrade bake competitions, lots of learning in lessons, 5 Fairtrade stalls in primary and secondary schools, a Fairtrade coffee morning, more than 20 Fairtrade assemblies, a photographic competition, designing hats for Fairtrade farmers at Ermysted’s Grammar School, a quiz night at Glusburn Primary School, and teachers dressing up as bananas for the day at Skipton Girls’ High School and raising more than £500 for the Fairtrade Foundation.

Here is a write up from Glusburn Primary School:

“On Friday 11th march, we celebrated the final day of Fair trade Fortnight by enjoying a delicious breakfast!!!
The children arrived in their pyjamas with a Fairtrade banana each. To this we added toast with FT honey and jam and we drank FT hot chocolate. Delicious!!  The children were very careful when spreading their toast with jam and they made note of how bread changes in texture and colour when it is heated. We thought about the FT farmers and how they would benefit from the sale of their products by being fairly paid.”

At Carleton CofE Primary School there were two competitions held to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight.  The rule of the Selfie Competition was to take a photograph of yourself eating breakfast in an unusual place.  The winner, Connie lives on a farm so decided to visit the cows.  A ‘cup of chocolate’ took the prize in the Fairtrade Cake Bake.

Connie's winning photo

Connie’s winning photo

The Quakers in Skipton organised an amazing brunch in the Meeting House. The homemade granola was the best granola ever tasted and included seven Fairtrade ingredients – brazil nuts, soft brown sugar, dark brown Muscovado sugar, dried apricots, mango, pineapple and banana. The lady who master minded it is Jette Howard.


Mid-way through Fair Trade Fortnight, a Fair Trade breakfast was held at the Broughton Hall near Skipton. With the message ‘Stand up for Farmers’, there was information about how farmers in developing countries can be helped, as well as an emphasis on the problems facing dairy farmers in the local area.Skipton

Read the West Yorkshire and the Dales Diocesan Rural Officer’s write up of the event on the Diocesan website.


Posted on March 22nd, 2016 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Coffee day is no grind for Harrogate MP

Harrogate MP Andrew Jones popped in to help out at Harrogate Fairtrade Group’s coffee day at St Peters Church on Saturday morning.Harrogate (2)

The MP was, for many years, Harrogate Council’s Fairtrade Champion and helped the Harrogate district achieve Fairtrade Borough status. When Mr Jones was elected to Parliament the role was taken on by Councillor Steven Jackson.
Harrogate Borough achieved Fairtrade status in 2006 and Yorkshire was the first Fairtrade Region.

Part of the day was a display of Fairtrade ‘breakfast plates’ designed by local schoolchildren.

Andrew commented: “Even though I stopped being the Council’s Fairtrade Champion when I became an MP, I’ve made a special note to keep in touch with the group, attend events and promote Fairtrade to parliamentary colleagues – in fact I’ve regularly made soup to sell during Fairtrade Fortnight!
“Our aim should be to lift poorer countries out of poverty and aid. The best way to do this is by helping them grow trade and help them with economic development projects.”

Harrogate Council’s Fairtrade Champion Cllr Steven Jackson added: “I am a passionate believer in Fairtrade which is why I was pleased to take over from Andrew as the Council’s Fairtrade Champion.

“Promoting trade with developing countries and levelling the playing field is a key part of ensuring that world poverty is beaten. Even here our purchasing choices can help that process. That is why it is important to raise awareness through events such as this.”

Posted on March 22nd, 2016 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News