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                                                                                FAIRTRADE COFFEE MORNING: 11/3/23


At our recent Fairtrade coffee morning, we began by reminding ourselves of the vital importance of Fairtrade.

This was prompted by the recent BBC Panorama programme: Sex for work: the true cost of our tea. We learnt that in Kenya, 1 in 3 adults are unemployed, and of those who do work, 1 in 10 work on tea plantations. Because work is so scarce, tea managers have enormous power: in a word, if a woman agrees to sleep with a manager she’ll get a job; if she refuses, she won’t.

The film actually showed a manager reading out the firm’s sexual harassment policy - and then setting up the job interviews in a hotel bedroom, where he made it quite clear what he wanted.

Out of 100 women interviewed, some 75 have experienced exactly this harassment, and overall

it has resulted in women becoming HIV positive, and, not surprisingly, in broken marriages.

The teas affected included PG Tips and Sainsbury’s Red label - but thankfully, no Fairtrade teas.

We also saw a short film showing how Bangladeshi garment workers were exploited during the Covid pandemic, being forced to work, even through the night at times, yet being routinely fobbed off with only half their due wages.

Looking to a future without Traidcraft, Marion Haworth was able to reassure us that the stall in the Indoor Market could certainly continue, since there are many and varied wholesalers who sell Fairtrade goods, some we have already used, and others we are exploring. So our promotion of the Fairtrade ideal and the sale of Fairtrade goods is secure – and the coffee morning itself generated sales of almost £450!! We were also able to thank the many people who already volunteer on the stall, though Marion would always be delighted to hear of anyone else willing to do a slot, especially at key holiday times!

Long term supporters of Fairtrade will know that each year we try to donate at least £1000 from the stall’s takings to support the work of “Transform Trade” (formerly Traidcraft Exchange). This becomes especially vital now, since they have not only lost income from the closure of Traidcraft, but they are seeking to support the growers and producers who had been Traidcraft suppliers, and now need to find fresh markets in order to survive. (This on top of their usual work in campaigning for trade justice, and creating and supporting fresh Fairtrade enterprises).

So please may we encourage everyone to support Fairtrade and to spread the word about how enormously it changes and improves lives. To quote a well known advert: “Every little helps!”



In January 2023, we heard that Traidcraft is going into administration. Traidcraft were very much the pioneers of Fairtrade in this country, starting in 1979, and (particularly through churches), growing until they became a familiar ‘brand’, and really spread the concept of Fairtrade.

It was so easy to explain that Traidcraft not only paid an agreed fair price, but also added a “Fairtrade Premium”, which the producers could spend in any way they felt would improve their community: maybe providing a school, a health centre, or a water pump in their village.

We have known for some time that Traidcraft were experiencing difficulties; a few years ago, they were forced to re-structure, and had to stop, for example, buying crafts direct from producers. More recently, they have had to severely limit the differential between the price we could buy from them wholesale, and the price we could charge, which was beginning to make our life difficult!

But now, of course, they have suffered from all the difficulties hitting small businesses – steeply rising costs, uncertainty in deliveries, the rising cost of deliveries… And it seems this time they have not found any way forward.

We shall miss some of their ‘own brand’ staples – especially their tea, coffee, sweets, chocolate and biscuits! But from the point of view of running our stall in the Shrewsbury Indoor Market, we have already been using other Fairtrade suppliers, and we will build this up as time goes on. Traidcraft have very helpfully put a list of their suppliers on their website, and we will be exploring those that are new to us.

There has always been a sense of split loyalty: do we buy from the Indoor Market Stall, or do we buy from supermarkets, to encourage them to stock Fairtrade? That is, after all our main aim. We would encourage you to do whichever you can – but bearing in mind that (hopefully) by having a stall in what has again been voted Britain’s favourite Market, we are encouraging new people to see the variety of Fairtrade goods available, and perhaps have a conversation to explain why they make such a difference to the producers’ lives.

More than anything, at what is a difficult time for everyone, we would simply urge you to continue to support Fairtrade as you are able.

Meriel Chippindale


On 1st October 2022, we held a coffee morning for all our supporters and volunteers; it was the first ‘open invitation’ since Covid, and it was very well attended. We had a well stocked stall, and were able to show a short Traidcraft video: “Our Commitment to the environment”, which outlined their ethical policies and their response to climate change (available on YouTube).


We could announce that 2021- 2022 had been our most successful year in the Indoor Market, with a turnover of just under £24,000; from that we were able to donate £1,500 to Traidcraft Exchange.


However, we also had to point out that both the stall rent and the cost of our electricity had risen, and since the coffee morning, Traidcraft have informed us that they, too, are suffering because of increased costs, and that the margin we make on each sale will have to be adjusted in the future.


In sum, it looks as if we will be able to continue to sell Fairtrade goods, and remain a presence in the market – but our ability to donate to either the Fairtrade Foundation or to Traidcraft Exchange (or “Transfer Trade” as it is now called) will probably be considerably diminished in the future.












March 2022

We again held a coffee morning - limited, unfortunately to members of Shrewsbury URC, and the volunteers that work on the Indoor Market stall, due to remaining Covid caution.  However, it was well attended, and Grant Brackley gave an excellent presentation.  Over £300 was taken in sales and donations.

​October 2021

After doing everything remotely for so long, it was such a joy to be able to welcome people to a coffee morning in the URC St Nicholas’ Hall. And it all went so smoothly! We chatted (but really safely); loads of goods were sold; masses of cards were ordered; and there was the opportunity to let everyone know how the market stall was doing after a full year of trading during Covid. It is such good news. Despite the closures and all the problems of the last twelve months (our trading year runs from 1st October - 30th September) we have been able to

• Sell more than £22,000 worth of Fairtrade goods, variously sourced through Traidcraft, Shared Earth, Suma, Thought and others;

• Distribute over £400 from your donations, plus £1000 from the stall, to the Traidcraft Exchange “Regenerators Appeal”.

• And we still had a very healthy £3000 in the bank and the same amount in stock.


So, we are delighted! Huge thanks are due to Roy and Marion Haworth for all the deliveries they made to individuals whilst lock-down was in force; and then to the many volunteers who have gone back to the stall now that the market is up and running again. And to everyone, for your consistent and wholehearted support.


I would also like to thank those who helped with the coffee morning, whether voluntarily or press-ganged! It was good to be able to enjoy coffee and cake safely together!

Fairtrade Fortnight 2021

On Saturday, 6th March 2021, we held a ‘virtual’ coffee morning to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight via Zoom.

The purpose was two-fold:


1. To highlight the devastating effect of climate change on farmers and growers.

We looked at a couple of short films, which spelled out their difficulties. If you go to You Tube, and enter “Fairtrade” in the search engine, you will find many short clips, often first hand accounts, showing how they are affected by the unpredictability of the weather, their exposure to both flooding and droughts, and the increase in plant diseases which threaten to wipe out their crops. In just a few minutes, you get a very graphic pictures of the changes and difficulties they are experiencing.


2. To highlight the Traidcraft Exchange “Regenerators” programme.


Traidcraft Exchange are raising money to help these farmers with a variety of ways to combat climate change and mitigate its effects – and the good news is that from now until June, any money that is given will be doubled by the UK government!

We have given £1,000 from the market stall, and the coffee morning raised another £200, so we have already been able to send £1,208 to the appeal.

And we recently heard that the appeal reached the target of half a million pounds, which with government matching, takes it up to £1million!  Thank you to everyone who gave!


October 2020

Normally at this time of year, we would be celebrating our annual results with a Coffee Morning – and at the same time showing you all the Christmas goodies available… but alas! this is not possible. So instead, these are the headlines

1.Thanks to the enormously hard work of Marion and Roy Haworth, in selling from home, and delivering items when the Market Hall was closed – and also to our volunteers who went back as soon as it was possible to open the stall again -we have sold just over £22,000 worth of Fairtrade goods over the year (- this is less than £2,000 down on last year, which is truly amazing.)


2. We have £942.25 more in the bank and in stock than we had at this time last year


3. We gave £278.86 from donations and £1000 from our surplus, divided between the Fairtrade Foundation and Traidcraft Exchange – and have just sent a further £102 each (from donations.)


So despite all the problems with flooding and Covid 19, we have been able to fulfil our twin aims:

  • to make a wide range of Fairtrade goods easily available in Shrewsbury,

  • and to give money to the Fairtrade Foundation and Traidcraft Exchange, to further their work in developing Fairtrade.


                                              We are deeply grateful for all your support in making this possible.






On 7th March 2020, we held a Fairtrade Fortnight coffee morning. The film, “Guardians of the Rainforest”, was excellent. It made clear how Fairtrade is helping to mitigate the effects of climate change – the number one concern of the farmers and growers.  (If you were not able to come, you will find the film on You Tube – it’s really worth watching.)

It was so good to have the Mayor supporting the event.

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Ken Chippindale with the Shrewsbury Mayor

2019: We are happy to announce that our status as a Fairtrade Town was renewed in October 2019

Autumn 2019, and we celebrated both 40 years of Traidcraft,

and 25 years since the Fairtrade logo was launched!

As part of renewing our status as a Fairtrade Town, a group of us went to the ShrewsburyTown Council Meeting on Monday 2nd September, where a resolution endorsing Fairtrade was unanimously passed, and we felt the Councillors were both aware and genuinely supportive about Fairtrade.

Also, (since the Mayor was on holiday on that occasion) we were subsequently invited to take tea with the Mayor in his Parlour in the castle! We were able to take along a wonderful Fairtrade cake and other goodies, and with several other visitors present, it proved a lively and enjoyable afternoon.

190911 cake.jpg


We had several events in Shrewsbury to mark Fairtrade Fortnight this year, including Traidcraft stalls held in many churches.

Looking back…

Annscroft Parish Church held a wonderful celebration of the 40 years of Traidcraft

Looking forward…

The Big Brew Breakfast at Shrewsbury United Reformed Church included an update on Traidcraft’s present situation.

Traidcraft today:

After running into catastrophic financial difficulties, Traidcraft have had to totally restructure the business:

* All 67 of their original staff were made redundant, and only 12 people could be afforded to run the new company

* The warehouse has been sold

* The range of products they now offer has been drastically reduced, from 1400 to something like 250; the craft range has been severely limited, because this presented the greatest risk.

How does this affect the Indoor Market stall?

Happily, their present catalogue includes most of the foodstuffs we sell; and we are able to add some variety to the range by buying from other Fairtrade suppliers.

One sentence used in the recent road-show made the greatest impact:

“We can’t afford to make a single mistake this year”

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