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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Town Bids to Trade up to a Fairer Future

A campaign has been launched to make ponteland a fair trade to

Resident Steve Helm is looking to get support for using and selling Fairtrade products across the community.

And one of the five goals needed to achieve this status was met when Ponteland Town Council passed a resolution to back the movement and agreed to serve Fairtrade products in meetings and offices.

The retired Physics teacher told members in a presentation that a chance encounter with Mayor Robin Ramsay got the ball rolling.

"I'm a speaker for Traidcraft and Fairtrade, I've run a stall with my wife at the Catholic Church (St Matthew's) in Ponteland and have been to South Africa to see how producers have benefited from it," he said.

"One day I spoke to someone about it who then said 'why don't you look at the Fairtrade Town scheme'? This man turned out to be Councillor Ramsay.
"I have done research into it since then and believe that we can achieve this status."

A range of Fairtrade goods being available locally and schools, workplaces, places of worship and community organisations using accredited products whenever possible are two of the other goals that need to be met.

The others are publicity and events to raise awareness and understanding of the movement and the formation of a Fairtrade steering group representing different sectors of the community to co-ordinate action.

Mr Helm said such a group is currently being put together and so far there is strong backing from all Ponteland's churches, many of the largest shops in the area already sell Fairtrade products and a petition is being circulated which he hopes will get about 1,000 signatures.

If the campaign is successful, Ponteland will join more than 400 other Fairtrade Towns including Morpeth and Hexham.
All of the accredited products are made or collected by people in developing countries around the world and are bought from them at a sustainable price which can never fall lower than the market price.
"This means farmers and other producers can come out of poverty through their own hard work," added Mr Helm.

"I spoke to people involved with Fairtrade Town campaigns in other places such as Morpeth and Hexham and they said it benefited them as well, because the community was brought closer together."
Town councillors agreed unanimously to accept the resolution.

Source: Morpeth Herald