How community pulled together to make Chorley a fairtrade town

Chorley Fairtrade Group committee members Meggan Boon, Janet Wright, Anita Boon, Sandra Brindle and Emily Sharples
Chorley Fairtrade Group committee members Meggan Boon, Janet Wright, Anita Boon, Sandra Brindle and Emily Sharples

Chorley was declared a fairtrade town after work by the council, schools, campaigners, businesses and churches.

The campaign for fairtrade has picked up pace in recent years, as more and more people want to do their bit to help farmers and workers around the world.

“Every effort to promote fairtrade, however small, means that more producers all round the world receive a fair price for their goods.”

Janet Wright

Garstang led the way, becoming the world’s first fairtrade town in 2000, with South Ribble getting the status in 2009 and Chorley now achieving the same title.

Read here to find out about the support for fairtrade in South Ribble and Lancashire.

Fairtrade aims to get better prices, working conditions and terms of trade for farmers and workers.

Farmers will have a guaranteed minimum wage and there is a fairtrade premium given back to the community for social, environmental and economic development projects.

The Fairtrade Foundation sets standards so that shoppers know products they buy featuring the fairtrade logo have been fairly traded.

The campaign for Chorley to become a fairtrade town started two years ago and has been led by Chorley Fairtrade Group, supported by Chorley Council. They worked towards meeting the goals set by the Fairtrade Foundation, with a number of activities being held.

Read how Chorley Council gave its support to the bid to make Chorley a fairtrade town.

Several schools were involved, including St Gregory’s RC Primary School, Holy Cross Catholic High School and St Michael’s High School. They held their own fairtrade events and contributed to Fairtrade Fortnight activities and displays at Chorley Library.

Businesses, retail outlets, schools and companies were audited to gain their commitment to fairtrade principles and to check which items of stock were fairtrade.

Janet Wright, a committee member for Chorley Fairtrade Group, said: “Eventually Chorley succeeded in meeting the criteria and was awarded fairtrade status in January this year.

“Every effort to promote fairtrade, however small, means that more producers all round the world receive a fair price for their goods.”

But the hard work does not stop there.

Janet said: “During the coming year, campaigners will be required to show evidence of continuing that drive and will be reviewing and broadening the audit.

“Businesses and organisations are encouraged to stock and offer fairtrade products. This might be fairtrade brews in a church, school tuck shops or a commitment to stocking a number of fairtrade items. There is now a plan underway to recruit more volunteers and continue the work of promoting fairtrade in Chorley.”

People around the borough are being encouraged to support fairtrade by buying products featuring the logo.

Janet said: “We all buy tea, coffee, fruit juice, chocolate and sugar, and bananas are one of the most popular healthy snacks.

“By simply changing shopping habits and choosing any of these items that carry the logo we can make a huge difference to the producers. Then keep an eye out or ask traders for other fairly traded items. There are ranges of biscuits, wine and even gold which have been certified as fairtrade.

“When drinking or eating out, ask for fairtrade options. The more we make it known that we are looking for these options, the more likely it is that cafes, restaurants and pubs will take note and make them available in the future.”

Chorley Fairtrade Group has launched a campaign during August to recruit more volunteers to help ensure the borough retains its fairtrade status. People interested in getting involved can go along to Chorley Community Centre, on Railway Street, Chorley, from 11am to 1pm on Tuesdays this month.

Janet said: “There is a lot to do and we want to give others a chance to help us.

“There is the reward of knowing that promoting fairtrade helps workers and families across the globe.

“Certificated producers provide fair wages and better working conditions allowing workers to labour with dignity and communities and families to thrive. This is good to know but we are keen to reward our volunteers in other ways by giving a time credit for every hour of work done on the auditing. The time credit scheme is a great success in Chorley.”

The group currently meets on the last Wednesday of each month at Chorley Town Hall, with the next meeting on Wednesday, August 26. People can go along to find out more and enjoy a cup of fairtrade tea or coffee.

Alternatively, to find out more about Chorley Fairtrade Group, go to chorley.gov.uk/Pages/Fairtrade.aspx.

Any businesses or organisations wishing to get involved with the fairtrade campaign can get in touch with the group by emailing contact@chorleyfairtrade.org.