Keeping refugee families together

The campaign keeping Refugee #FamiliesTogether, which is part of ‘Stand As One’ led by Oxfam and Amnesty International, has secured a victory.  On March 16th MPs voted to support a Bill that, if successful, will help keep families together, by proposing important changes to the rules that allow refugee families to reunite in the UK.

The ‘Stand As One’ campaign at York’s Fishergate Fair

This is a huge step forward for refugees in the UK who are desperate to be reunited with their families.

Restrictive government rules are leaving refugees isolated, traumatised and alone in the UK, knowing that the people they love still face untold dangers in other countries.

Thanks to pressure from campaigners and concerned members of the public, 129 MPs have shown true leadership. We’re one step closer to the introduction of new rules, which would mean fewer children have to grow up alone, fewer young women are left stranded in war zones and fewer elderly parents are forced to fend for themselves.

Posted on April 3rd, 2018 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Fair’s Fair

An exciting new book has been published by York Fair Trade Forum.  Edited by experienced educationalists, it is suitable for use in the classroom or by youth groups.

Every Fair Trade group should have a copy (or several).

We all depend on people and countries from far and near for the things we use and eat every day.  What we buy affects the lives of the people who grow, produce and make what we buy.  So, many of us buy fair traded, or ‘Fairtrade’ goods, which give those who produce them a fair price and better working conditions.

There is a long history, in many different countries of people who have helped to improve the lives of producers by selling only goods which had been fairly produced.

Read about just 10 of these courageous and visionary ‘champions’ in this book.

Buy 1-10 copies    £4 each plus postage

Buy 11-20 copies   £3.75 each plus postage

Buy 21 -24 copies    £3.50 each plus postage

Buy over 25 copies    £3.50 free postage

Orders from:

helen@fairtradeyork.com

By post: Book sales c/o Fairer World, 84 Gillygate York YO317EQ

Posted on December 4th, 2017 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Stand against ‘Sainsbury’s’ mean decision

In October, Fairtrade campaigners took a stand against the mean decision of supermarket giant ‘Sainsbury’s’ to abandon the Fairtrade certificate for tea in favour of launching their own ‘fairly traded’ scheme.  The new scheme will have a different approach to the distribution of the Fairtrade premium.  Whereas Fairtrade guarantees a premium which is paid to producer groups for them to decide how it will be spent to the benefit of their communities, Sainsbury’s will require that their producers will have to apply to a central committee to receive a premium.  The committee will vet the application, deciding what is in the best interests of the producers.  We at Fairtrade Yorkshire believe that the producers are the best people to decide what their earnings should be spent on.

York Fair Trade Forum members protest at Sainsbury’s York Foss Bank store.

On October 28th there was a national day of action in protest at Sainsbury’s decision.

Check out #NotMyCupofTea on Twitter to see just a snippet of the action: http://bit.ly/2inWPBx

Online, campaigners targeted 85% of stores. Offline, people did a huge amount – from craftivism to improvised drama in the checkout queue.

Posted on November 1st, 2017 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Yorkshire’s Holly gives storming performance

The National Fairtrade Supporter Conference was held on 7th October at King’s College in London.

Yorkshire’s own Holly Lynch gave a storming performance, motivating the delegates to action.  Holly, who was re-elected this year as the MP for Halifax (with an increased majority) is Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Fairtrade.

Karen Palframan (National Campaigner rep for Yorkshire) and Holly Lynch MP at the Supporter Conference

 

Holly shared how important it is for Fairtrade groups to engage with politicians, and she also detailed the work of the APPG in promoting the Fairtrade agenda in Parliament.

Thanks also to the other fantastic keynote speakers who informed, inspired and challenged us:

George Kporye, Fairtrade Officer at Golden Exotics Ltd, Ghana and Board member of Fairtrade Africa’s West Africa Network spoke about the impact of Fairtrade for banana workers in Ghana.

Barbara Gwinnett, Chair of the National Campaigner Committee (NCC) spoke about the crucial role of grassroots campaigners in the Fairtrade movement, and how the NCC works with the Fairtrade Foundation to advise on its campaigning work.

Michael Gidney, Chief Executive of the Fairtrade Foundation highlighted the progress of the Fairtrade campaign in changing trade, as well as the key challenges and opportunities for the movement in the coming years.

Dario Soto Abril, CEO of Fairtrade International closed the conference with inspirational words linking the activities in communities across the UK and tangible shifts in living standards in communities around the world thanks to better prices and jobs that Fairtrade brings to millions of farmers and workers.

Posted on October 22nd, 2017 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Fact-finding Meg tours Haworth

Haworth, the world’s first Fairtrade Village, was the chosen destination for a Fairtrade fact-finding visit by Megumi Morita from Japan. She is from Zushi, Japan’s third Fairtrade town, which lies on the coast, south west of Tokyo.

Fairtrade campaigners (from left) Ruth Drury, John Drury, Bruce Crowther, Chris Upton, (Megumi Morita,) Karen Palframan, Adrian Farley, Nick Drury, Rita Verity and others met in Haworth to welcome Megumi Morita from Japan.

 

After attending the recent International Fair Trade Towns conference in Saarbrucken with Bruce Crowther MBE, founder of the global Fairtrade Town initiative and Director of the Fig Tree, Megumi came to the UK to discover more about collaborative Fairtrade initiatives in this country.

Haworth Fairtrade Group members organised an informative itinerary, which included visiting West Lane Baptist Church, the Bronte Parsonage, Sonia’s Smile Fair Trade shop and the KWVR station in Haworth. The day started at the church cinema with photos and videos from past Haworth and regional Fairtrade events such as ‘Chuffin’ Fair’, ‘Fair Intents’, the cycling Fairtrade bananas ‘Tour de France’ video (filmed in Haworth for Fairtrade Yorkshire, see www. fairtradeyorkshire.org.uk), the ‘Sit down for breakfast, stand up for farmers’ KWVR steam train Fairtrade breakfast, and this spring’s Fairtrade and Bronte walk from Thornton to Haworth.

Megumi gave a presentation about Zushi’s activities to gain Fairtrade town status and there was time for her to discuss wider campaigning issues with Keighley Fairtrade group member and Bradford Council Fairtrade champion Cllr Adrian Farley, and chair of Bradford Fairtrade Zone, Karen Palframan. Diane Fare hosted Meg at the Brontë Parsonage Museum and explained more about Rev Patrick Brontë and his campaigns for social justice, including better sanitation, education and workers’ rights.

Bruce Crowther confirmed, “It was a pleasure to bring Megumi to Haworth on behalf of The FIG Tree Fair Trade Centre as part of her tour and see how the Haworth campaign is supported by the schools, churches, local authority and businesses. We were both impressed to see the number of Fair Trade events held in and around Haworth since becoming a Fairtrade Town in 2002 and how the campaign connects with the tourist attractions and local heritage. We now have 2,000 Fair Trade Towns in 29 countries.”

Many thanks to Liz Barker and Worth and Aire Valley Magazines for kind permission to reprint this article.  Thanks also to John Sargent for the photographs.

Posted on October 21st, 2017 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Baildon Town renewed

The Fairtrade Foundation has renewed Baildon’s Fairtrade Town status.  Baildon has been a Fairtrade Town for 12 years.  In a letter to the Fairtrade Baildon, Adam Gardener of the Fairtrade Foundation said: “We would like to pass on our congratulations and say thank you to everyone who has been involved.  The collaborations with groups such as Friends of the Earth enables you to hold larger events and it was wonderful to see that you managed to raise £160 for Traidcraft Exchange thanks to the generosity of the Co-op and all those involved in the Breakfast. We are really impressed with the clear effort and dedication the town has put in to continually raise awareness and spread information about Fairtrade and to stock Fairtrade goods and products as much as possible.”

Fairtrade Baildon: ready for the Tour de Yorkshire outside St James church

Fairtrade Baildon hit national and international media during the Tour de Yorkshire this year.  Their striking banner was visible as the competing cyclists sped through the town, leading the BBC and other networks to comment on its message to ‘end the cycle of poverty: choose Fairtrade.’

 

 

Posted on August 10th, 2017 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Trade renegotiation threats

The renegotiation of Britain’s trade agreements will be an extremely difficult process which is likely to stretch out over the next five years and more.  Those of us who have campaigned on trade issues realise that although this may offer some opportunities there are also immense threats.  Bi-lateral trade agreements have in the past resulted in the collapse of whole industries and sectors of agriculture.

Sylvia of York Fair Trade Forum backs Global Justice Now

 

Powerful trading nations, such as the USA, can insist that the UK turn its back on traditional trade with developing nations; leading to the loss of livelihoods for some of the world’s poorest communities.

Trade negotiations are closely linked to livelihoods.  Jobs both in the UK and overseas are on the line.  That is why we support the campaign by Global Justice Now to introduce democratic accountability for trade deals.

Global Justice Now refer to the intended process of trade renegotiation as ‘Dangerous Deals Being Done in the Dark.’  They call for Parliament and ordinary citizens to be involved in the process.  Given these are the most important decisions affecting our country’s future in a generation, it is unacceptable that trade deals be conducted in secret.  MPs need to be informed about the direction of any trade deals and their constituents should have the right to be involved in a democratic process.

There is mounting concern regarding trade negotiations with the USA which could result in a “taking away of control” on a wide variety of issues such as who else we choose to trade with and environmental, labour and health standards.

Say no to secret trade deals destroying livelihoods.  Back Global Justice Now.

Posted on August 10th, 2017 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

20 years of Namaste

Sam and Rachel Brummitt of Namaste and Jhaindra Ghimire (centre).

This year the Fair Trade wholesaler and retailer, Namaste are celebrating 20 years in business.  On 17th July an event was held at the company’s Skipton head office and show rooms.  Staff, customers, Fair Trade supporters and Namaste well-wishers were all invited.  Guest of honour was the long-standing clothing supplier from Nepal, Jhaindra Ghimire.  Jhaindra is from Sujha Traders and Exports and is a member of Fair Trade Group Nepal.

The Chief Executive of Child Rescue Nepal, Jo Bego also attended and gave a presentation on the work of the charity, which Namaste has supported for over 15 years.  Child Rescue frees children from slavery.  In Nepal there are 100,000 children who are working in extremely hazardous situations and suffer frequent physical and emotional abuse.  The charity works with local police to free children from the workplaces where they are being held captive and then supports those children, where possible reuniting them with their families.

Rachel Brummitt, owner and a company director talked of the history of Namaste:

“Namaste, simply translated as ‘Welcome’ in Nepal, was the result of an inspirational year of travel to Nepal & India.  The idea for the business developed through meeting people making crafts for a living.   We still remember our first products arriving on the farm where we had our first barn warehouse, complete with chickens and wellies.  Development from then on has been organic growth over the years.

Our philosophy is simple, fairly traded products which celebrate the very best of traditional handmade skills.   We offer an extensive range including gifts, home accessories, furnishings, furniture, clothing & accessories, jewellery and incense, fairly traded from the far corners of the world.

Back row from left: Alan Hickman (Fairtrade Skipton), Rachel Brummitt, Marie Hickman (Fairtrade Skipton), Susan Radford (director), Jhaindra Ghimire and Jo Bego. Front: Sam and John Brummitt (directors).

 

We are a small company with a strong ethical policy based upon the belief that the best way to reduce poverty in the developing world is through trade.  We have helped over 100 producers to grow and develop with us since we started trading 20 years ago.  Namaste is recognised by BAFTS, the British Association of Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers as a Fair Trade importer.”

Following the presentations guests could browse the vast range of Namaste products and help the company celebrate by joining in the feast, which included Nepalese curries and a traditional Yorkshire high tea.

Namaste have a large showroom in Skipton or you can visit them online www.namaste-uk.com.

Posted on July 28th, 2017 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

The fairandfunky Fairtrade Football Fun Day Honley High School – July 6th 2017

The fairandfunky Fairtrade Football Fun Day welcomed Primary Schools from across Kirklees to Honley High School for an afternoon of football and Fairtrade focussed games, activities and co-operative learning.

All fairandfunky workshops encourage participants to look at the world around them and empower people of all ages with the knowledge that their actions can make a difference. This event focussed on Fairtrade, and students discovered throughout the event that you can make a difference with Fairtrade even as you play football!

All students were able to recognise the Fairtrade mark and spoke confidently about how

Fairtrade guarantees a fair price is paid to farmers. But how can a football be Fairtrade? It doesn’t grow on a farm?!

“It’s all about the people. That’s why. The Fairtrade mark shows a person, its paying people properly that makes a football Fairtrade.” Student from Wilberlee J&I School

Workshops led by fairandfunky enabled students to meet the people in Pakistan who make Fairtrade footballs for Bala Sports UK. They discovered that over 700 stitches go in to 1 football, and that the balls are stitched by hand, taking 4 hours to make. Students discovered the difference Fairtrade has made to communities; with Fairtrade premiums being invested in water sanitation and free eye tests.

Throughout the event students played football with balls made especially for fairandfunky, in Pakistan. It was very exciting to know exactly where the balls were from, and who made them!

With Nigel from Suma Wholefoods students played a game of ‘Un-fair football’ – the rules kept changing and it was only when the team played co-operatively together could they achieve success. Project Sport taught tricks for successful keepy-uppys and volunteers from Camira Fabrics held a ‘Beat The Banana Goalie’ competition! Successful goal scorers were rewarded with a fruit kebab thanks to Holmfirth Coop.

Children all over the world play football, but not everyone is able to afford to buy their own, so what do they use? They make their own footballs using rubbish! Students had a go at making their own football from plastic bags, newspaper and string. They soon discovered how hard it was, and spent time thinking about how hard people work to make the footballs they’d all been playing with. It’s important that workers are paid fairly, especially when you consider the amount of money generated in playing football. It’s time to play fair.

And that’s what all the schools who took part will be able to do. Thanks to sponsorship from Suma Wholefoods each school will be presented with Fairtrade footballs made especially for them – to play fair, and think fair.

www.fairandfunky.com

Posted on July 24th, 2017 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Massive risk in the rush to negotiate “Brexit”

Mark Dawson, Coordinator of Fairtrade Yorkshire comments: “Trade negotiations are all about livelihoods.  Britain is renegotiating all its trading relationships and this brings risk.  Risk that sectors of industry and agriculture, both in the UK and overseas, will be damaged and livelihoods lost.”

The Fairtrade Foundation is asking everyone who is concerned about the livelihoods of those producers across the globe who depend on British trade, to contact their MP’s.

Take action now

There is a massive risk that in the rush to negotiate “Brexit”, vulnerable and voiceless farmers and workers from the poorest countries could be forgotten.

Too often in the past, changes to trade rules and new trade deals have harmed not helped the poorest people who work hard to grow the food we love. We need to manage risks such as:

  • Leaving the EU’s single market and customs area without putting in place measures similar to the ones which currently protect farmers in the poorest developing countries. Doing this would immediately punish millions of farmers and workers with an extra £1 billion import tax bill.
  • Rushing into free trade agreements with wealthier countries such as the US, China and Brazil without ensuring that these deals won’t undercut very poor countries which depend on the UK for much of their sales.

Many of us will remember the large trade campaigns of the past and so are aware of the immense damage that can be done by ill thought out trade agreements.  It is very disappointing that there has not been a public debate around trade issues either in the run up to the referendum or in its aftermath.   The hurried nature of discussion in the UK Parliament, undermines the ability of the UK public to hold their elected representatives to account in the trade negotiation process.

For the Fair Trade movement, secrecy and lack of any real democratic accountability regarding our trade negotiations is not on.  We welcome the reinvigoration of a large scale movement for trade justice: dedicated to protecting livelihoods in the UK and for producers across the globe who rely on UK trade.

Make no mistake, millions of livelihoods, both in the UK and overseas, are at risk in the renegotiation of the UK’s trade agreements.  Don’t leave the decisions to the few, who will protect the sectors of the economy that they are interested in, at the expense of everyone else.

 

 

Posted on March 29th, 2017 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News