Supporters and campaigners are celebrating their successful bid to renew Melrose’s Fairtrade Town status for another two years.
Since formation in 2013, when Melrose and District Fairtrade Group worked mainly with local churches and retail outlets, they have promoted Fairtrade with local schools, nurseries, Borders General Hospital, Scouts, Rotary and local politicians. They’ve set up a Facebook page, featuring news, views and events, and through the annual Fairtrade Fortnight promotions, table-top sales and support from the local Co-op, Fairtrade has a well-established and growing presence in the town.
Dave Potts, local resident and a founding member of the group, said: “This successful renewal of Fairtrade Town status for Melrose is testimony to the amount of hard work contributed by our small band of dedicated volunteers. We’ve been recognised for our efforts over the past two years, to promote awareness-raising activities that include all ages, from pre-school tots to retired residents.
“The local community and visitors too have responded well to the Fairtrade ethos, supporting events we’ve run and purchasing Fairtrade products in the town.”
The group have also drawn attention to non-food Fairtrade items, with seasonal Traidcraft sales.
In the run-up to the World Cup, they ran a competition that focused on Fairtrade footballs, which attracted many entries. It helped highlight the inequalities of global trade by comparing the wages of professional footballers and their high transfer fees to those of low-paid workers toiling in poor conditions to stitch the footballs used in the game.
Group chair Jenni Young commented: “We hope that our example will encourage other communities in the Borders to take up the challenge and contribute to raising awareness about Fairtrade and the benefits it brings to farmers and producers in developing countries.
“Buying any Fairtrade-branded product guarantees that you’re supporting a better quality of life for people and communities in the developing world, as well as acquiring a quality product.”
Next year Fairtrade Fortnight runs from February 25-March 10.
z The picture shows, from left, David Potts (with the Fairtrade Town renewed status certificate), and Jenni and Leslie Young.