Fairtrade Weston Group, was set up two years ago, to encourage people to favour buying Fair Trade products. 

It is believed that by doing so we ensure that the people who create the foods are able to improve the health and housing of their own families, and to afford education for their children.

The Fairtrade organisation, set out a list of goals for groups to achieve. So far the group is making great progress in its campaign to raise awareness of the benefits which becoming a Fairtrade town.

Councillor Pete McAleer achieved the first goal of five required by forming a Steering Group of Business Leaders and local institutions, all committed to achieving the Fairtrade Foundation status. This sends a powerful message about how trade can work to help disadvantaged people – but not to the detriment of our own UK retail sector.

       The second goal was attained in March when Cllr McAleer’s proposal was unanimously passed at the Town Council meeting to support this initiative. Cllr McAleer and six speakers from the public spoke in favour of the value that becoming a Fairtrade town would have, both for increasing the living standards of poor farmers in developing countries and for enhancing the idea that Weston-super-Mare is a caring community. It was pointed out that when we buy Fairtrade products like tea, coffee and bananas we are helping the farmers who actually grow these foods to receive a fair return for their hard work. 

           Soon other groups joined the campaign with endorsement from the Chamber of Commerce, Weston Enterprise Agency, the BME Network, and Weston Trades Council together with various local unions – all supporting this ethical, community-led ambition.

          As the largest town in North Somerset, Weston is surrounded by Fairtrade villages and towns such as Sandford, Winscombe, Portishead, Pill, Glastonbury and of course nearby Bristol, with Cardiff becoming the first capital city to gain this prestigious status. In fact, the whole of the neighbouring County of Devon has been declared a Fairtrade county.

           To launch involvement with North Somerset schools Cllr McAleer launched a “Design a Shopping Bag” competition which attracted hundreds of entries from schools across the community, all of which won at least one prize. This was judged by the (then) Editor of the Mercury, Vicky Angear; the Executive member for Children and Young Persons, Cllr Catherine Gibbons; and Weston’s Mayor, James Clayton, who this Monday visited Hutton C of E Primary School to award a prize to the overall winning pupil, Mya Naish, as well as to school runner-up, Olivia Banks. Also highly commended were Ardie Spice and Marie May Hewlett.

     Cllr McAleer states: “Perhaps the most imaginative entry came from Hans Price Secondary School, from student Austin Goodland, who took the challenge a step further by actually creating a practical bag from a re-cycled school shirt, complete with pocket.”      

These and more of the imaginative images submitted will be on display for a fortnight from 3rd December at Weston-super-Mare Museum in Burlington Street.”