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Fairtrade has been on Southwell's agenda for many years: Fairtrade goods have been sold at the Turnaround charity shop in King Street; Churches Together in Southwell have staffed a stall of chocolate and tea in the market place each Fairtrade Fortnight.  Campaigners in Southwell, under the leadership of the retired Bishop of Burnley, Ronald Milner, had spoken up on the whole issue of trade justice and world debt under the Jubilee Debt and 'MakePovertyHistory' campaigns in the 1990s, and taken a coach-load of protesters to Edinburgh, Birmingham, etc. for the G7 meetings.  

The next step was to make Southwell a Fairtrade Town. The first meeting of the 'Southwell Fairtrade Town Initiative' took place in Bishop Ronald's house in February 2005.  From small beginnings of 2 town councillors and 3 church representatives, the steering group grew to include reps from business, tourism, schools, NTU Brackenhurst, Civic Association, Women's Institute. Every business and institution in the town was visited (over 80 of them), and invited to fill in a questionnaire about their attitude to Fairtrade as a concept.  These were collected in so that In November 2005 a report was published, showing that enough businesses sold Fairtrade goods to let us qualify to be a Fairtrade Town; and the Town Council's support was now solid - a crucial factor.  In March 2006 the Council launched the Fairtrade Town in the Council Chamber on the Burgage, and we were able to show the certificate from the Fairtrade Foundation in London to show we had made it - a reward for the foot-slogging, paper-work, phone calls to councillors, schools and businesses, and many meetings.   

The town's Fairtrade status has twice been renewed, and the number of shops selling Fairtrade goods continues to go up - including a Fairtrade cotton fabric internet business based in Nottingham Road.  For several years, major public events were arranged in the Minster School, showing the range of Fairtrade foods, drinks and clothes.  The Fairtrade logo is now on Town Council stationery, and three directories of Fairtrade businesses, in 2006, 2008 and 2010, have been delivered to every house in the town.   

Everyone living, working or shopping in Southwell should know about trade justice!

Bramley Article Dec 06

Bramley Article March 06