Photo gallery: The sun is shining as Lowestoft celebrates ten years as a Fairtrade town
PUBLISHED: 17:19 08 March 2014 | UPDATED: 10:55 09 March 2014
A north Suffolk town which became the first Fairtrade town in the county, has celebrated ten years of helping disadvantaged farmers in developing countries.
Lowestoft became a Fairtrade town in 2004, when Francine Nahai set up a committee, secured the support of Waveney District Council and recruited local shops and cafes to stock and sell Fairtrade items.
Now marking its 10th anniversary, committee members, volunteers, politicians and members of the public gathered at the United Reformed Church in London Road North today, to enjoy a special Fairtrade fair, selling goods and raising awareness of the work Fairtrade does.
Mrs Nahai, who stepped down from the group when she moved to Spain in 2008, travelled back to Lowestoft to attend the event.
She said: “The reason for me coming today was to honour the ongoing commitment and loyalty of the committee and to thank Lowestoft for continuing to support the Fairtrade status.
“It is lovely to see so many people here supporting Fairtrade.
“Every person who buys a Fairtrade product in Lowestoft is really making a difference to the men, women and children who produce those goods. It’s not just about improving the money they get, it is about improving the conditions they live and work in too.”
The Lowestoft Fairtrade Committee has compiled a directory of more than 50 restaurants, cafes, clothes shop, supermarkets, hotels, churches and more that sell or use Fairtrade goods in and around Lowestoft. Their next aim is develop a Fairtrade school in the area.
Gill Taylor, who has been chairman of the committee since Mrs Nahai moved away in 2008, said: “We hold a fair like this every year in support of Fairtrade Fortnight but this year is extra special.
“The sun is shining, we’ve got a ukulele group performing outside and the room is buzzing. It is such a change from last year when it was raining all day long. We are really pleased.”
The event, which included a variety of stalls, food tasting, a raffle, cake stalls and refreshments, was also attended by Waveney MP Peter Aldous and leader of Suffolk County Council Mark Bee.
This year Fairtrade fortnight, which started on February 24 and finishes tomorrow, is being used to launch a new campaign called Make Bananas Fair. The campaign is calling on supermarkets to stop lowering the shelf price of loose bananas, which results in an ever-tightening squeeze on what producers earn for their bananas.
Mrs Taylor added: “We are trying to tackle the problem of loose bananas which are not Fairtrade being sold in supermarkets at very low prices which means that the money the producers receive is not very good.”