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