Winchester wins Fairtrade status

The Winchester City Fairtrade Network is delighted that it has been successful in its bid to gain Fairtrade status for the City of Winchester.

The Fairtrade Foundation praised the Network for the hard work that it had put in during four years' of campaigning in the city to meet the strict criteria demanded by the Foundation before Fairtrade status could be granted to Winchester.

The Network's formal application to the Fairtrade Foundation for Winchester's registration, which was completed and submitted at the end of January this year, was granted on Friday,14 March.

Having acquired the enthusiastic support of the City Council early in the campaign, the Network then had to gain the support of local shops and cafés, restaurants and hotels, schools, churches and businesses. The success of the campaign was illustrated recently during Fairtrade Fortnight when the Network co-ordinated and publicised a number of events that were organised in the city to highlight the message of Fairtrade. These events included a clothes show and a visit to the University by coffee producers from Mexico and Uganda.

The long-hoped-for achievement of Fairtrade status for Winchester is not the end of campaigning by the Network. In order that the city can continue to maintain its Fairtrade status, the Network Steering Group, headed by its chairman, Robert Hutchison, will continue to monitor the availability and use of Fairtrade goods in the city and maintain its links with the city's schools to make sure that the Fairtrade message stays on the curriculum.

It will also continue to organise events to advertise Fairtrade products as well as continuing its campaign to publicise the benefits that the Fairtrade system brings to poor and marginalized farmers in the developing world.

Mr Hutchison said, “For many years a group of people in Winchester have been working to increase understanding of why fair trade is important and to promote the sales of Fairtrade products in the City.   It is encouraging that their efforts have been acknowledged in this way; though there is still a lot to do to broaden and deepen understanding of why fair trade is important”.   

Cllr George Beckett Leader of Winchester City Council said, “This is excellent news for the City and my congratulations go to all those in the Fairtrade Network who have worked so hard to achieve it. The City Council has backed the scheme ever since we first became a Fairtrade organisation in 2004. We look forward to continuing our support for the important work of the group.”