Fairtrade accreditation campaign gaining momentum, says council

Marking Fairtrade Fortnight at Lagan Valley Island are (l-r) Ricarda Stienhaus, Fairtrade Ireland; Councillor Uel Mackin, Chairman of the council's Development Committee; Dr Chris Stange, Secretariat of the All Party Group on Fairtrade, Stormont; Melanie Drea, Fairtrade Ireland and Heydi Janeth, Fairtrade Producer, Nicaragua.
Marking Fairtrade Fortnight at Lagan Valley Island are (l-r) Ricarda Stienhaus, Fairtrade Ireland; Councillor Uel Mackin, Chairman of the council's Development Committee; Dr Chris Stange, Secretariat of the All Party Group on Fairtrade, Stormont; Melanie Drea, Fairtrade Ireland and Heydi Janeth, Fairtrade Producer, Nicaragua.

Lisburn and Castlereagh’s bid to secure Fairtrade accreditation is gaining momentum across the local community, according to the council.

To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight, the local authority recently invited guest speaker Heydi Janeth, a Fairtrade factory worker from Nicaragua, to talk to students about the huge difference Fairtrade makes to the lives of the farmers, their families and communities.

More than 150 local schoolchildren attended the event at Lagan Valley Island where they got the opportunity to learn more about the importance of Fairtrade practices, both at home and abroad.

Speaking at the event, Councillor Uel Mackin, Chairman of the council’s Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “We have had a positive response to our campaign to achieve Fairtrade status for the city. A significant percentage of business organisations, education establishments, restaurants and cafes already support Fairtrade.

“Fairtrade Fortnight is an opportunity for everyone in our community to show their support for Fairtrade farmers across the world and in particular Fairtrade offers our local businesses a credible way to ensure that their trade has a positive impact for the people at the end of the chain.”

During the event, which was supported by local branches of Lidl, the Co-op and Tesco, Knockmore Primary School delivered a short presentation to share what they do as a Fairtrade Accredited School to empower students and support Fairtrade.

Heydi talked about what the co-operative has given back to the community in terms of social projects, training programmes for young people and infrastructure improvements from the town to the village. Councillor Mackin added: “The response to the council’s Fairtrade campaign is heartening, but we still want to hear about Fairtrade events in the local community and from businesses who make Fairtrade products available to their staff.”

Encouraging more people to join the Fairtrade Steering Group, he said: “Anyone with an interest in Fairtrade is very welcome to join us. Please contact clora.gallagher@lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk to find out more.

“One of our aims is to involve more schools and local businesses in our activities. You don’t have to take an active role; but if you keep us up to date with your work for Fairtrade, it will help as we all work towards achieving Fairtrade accreditation for the city.”