Thursday night’s audience at the Ormiston in Melrose enjoyed a double treat at the Greener Borders Network Winter Talk, part of Fairtrade Fortnight activities in the town.
Not only did they hear about Fairtrade at Earlston High School, but fittingly – on International Women’s Day – the powerpoint and video presentation had been researched, put together and delivered by an all-girl team from the school’s fourth and fifth years.
They explained how Fairtrade featured in the school curriculum, especially in the junior years, in business studies, geography, home economics, and religious moral and philosophical studies.
Surveys the girls carried out with other school students and staff revealed that while there was good awareness generally about Fairtrade, the school itself did not do enough to promote the subject, nor was it a Fairtrade-friendly school.
In the school canteen, the only Fairtrade product that’s used is sugar. But the pupils pointed out that decisions about whether or not to use Fairtrade products is not up to canteen staff or the school.
Among the audience was Borders MP John Lamont – himself a longstanding fan of Fairtrade.
On Saturday, customers at Melrose Co-op were faced with a table-top sale consisting of cakes and sweets made from Fairtrade ingredients, thanks to the efforts of friends and supporters of local Scouts Matthew Cove and Dougray Seggie, pictured.
The boys are two of a group of seven Scouts from the Borders who’ll be joining the 180-strong Scottish Scout contingent heading off to the USA next summer for a Jamboree, which happens every four years.
“We’re fundraising for the venture in lots of different ways,” explained Matthew. “And we have to raise extra money to help Scouts from developing countries take part in the gathering too.”
“There’ll be even more countries represented there than there are at the Olympics,” added Dougray. “Over 36,000 scouts are taking part, and the campsite is huge – more than 4 miles wide.”
Meanwhile, back in Melrose, the Fairtrade town group’s Fairtrade annual cafe event, cancelled this year because of snow, has been rescheduled for Saturday, July 7 – which is also World Chocolate Day.