About Us

The Steering Group of Chelmsford City Fairtrade Campaign meets regularly. Its objective is to promote Fairtrade and to add its voice to those who demand a trade system that puts people, not profit, at the heart of the transaction. We believe that our voices become louder when we speak together.

Working as a Fairtrade City brings together neighbours, groups, our local authority and businesses towards a common goal and a shared achievement. It does mean a lot of work but it is enjoyable and it sends a powerful message about how our community wants trade to work. If you are interested in participating in our work, do let us know. CONTACT M. Wallace maljan9@gmail.com

HOW WE STARTED IN CHELMSFORD

In the Spring of 2003 Chelmsford TUC approached Oxfam with a few to obtaining Fairtrade Town status for Chelmsford. A letter was sent by Malcolm Burgess (Oxfam) to a number of local groups which resulted in a meeting being held on 29 May 2003 in the Essex Record Office, Chelmsford.

Present were 25 people representing Amnesty International, Brentwood Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace, Cathedral Fairtrade Group, Chelmsford Community Church, Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society, Chelmsford Youth Council, Christian Aid, Co-operative Party, Friends of the Earth, Green Party, Unicef, United Nations Association and a number of interested individuals and businesses.

Malcolm Burgess opened the meeting and introduced Rosa Shey from the Croydon Fairtrade Group, who explained how her group had been established and how Croydon became London’s first Fairtrade Borough. Rosa said that Croydon Council had been extremely helpful; not only had the Council passed a resolution supporting Fairtrade, but also it had appointed a member of staff to assist the Group and had provided accommodation for meetings. Rosa then itemised the five goals required to achieve Fairtrade Town status, and congratulated the group on having achieved some of their objectives.

A Fairtrade Town Group model constitution was noted and it was agreed that those present would discuss the constitution within their respective organisations. Seven people were elected to a Steering Group and it was agreed that one of its duties would be to plan a public meeting. A number of tasks to achieve Fairtrade status were taken up including asking sales outlets, companies, councillors, organisations, workplaces etc to either sell, buy or promote Fairtrade products. It was also decided to establish a data base of interested groups and supporters and companies within Chelmsford in order to establish who is currently using or selling Fairtrade products.

OUR FIRST PUBLIC MEETING

Chelmsford Fairtrade Action Group: Public Meeting held on 21 October 2003. An excellent meeting; that was the view of everyone present at the first public meeting of Chelmsford Fairtrade Action group. Held at Christ Church, New London Road, Chelmsford and attended by nearly 100 people from a wide range of Christian and community groups, the speakers were Simeone Greene (Former teacher and farmer in St. Vincent and the Grenadines), and Bruce Crowther (a Fairtrade Co-ordinator). Bruce told us how his group had made Garstang the UK’s first Fairtrade Town and Simeone spoke of his experiences of the banana industry, with particular reference to the Windward Islands.

The debate that followed was wide-ranging and during the discussion it was announced that a motion would be sent to Chelmsford Borough Council on 19 November, calling on the Council to support Fairtrade. The event was also used to launch the Chelmsford Fairtrade Directory which contains information on Fairtrade and provided a list of all the Fairtrade suppliers in the town. What was also encouraging was that a number of those present came from other parts of Essex, giving us the prospect of making the county “Fairtrade”.

OUR REPORT BACK MEETING

On 14 November 2004 28 people representing a variety of organisations attended a meeting in the Essex Record Office where the Steering Committee gave a report of its work to date.

Malcolm Burgess opened the meeting and said that our progress since the first meeting in 2003 had been quite remarkable. We had held two public meetings which had attracted hundreds, and our objective of turning Chelmsford into a Fairtrade Town had been well publicised. We have published several editions of our Fairtrade Directory and new supporters and companies selling Fairtrade are being reported virtually every month. Our website was an early development and this is updated regularly.

Of particular significance was the decision of Chelmsford Borough Council (with all-party support) to use Fairtrade products. Similarly, Essex County Council adopted a policy to investigate the possibility of gaining Fairtrade status for Essex as long as it does not significantly impact on the taxpayer. It has also agreed to encourage other authorities in the County to do the same.

Our new name – Chelmsford Fairtrade Town Campaign – was agreed, and a constitution (this can be seen elsewhere on the website). The membership fee was set at £2 (minimum). The Chairman thanked the Co-operative Party, Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society, Chelmsford TUC, Oxfam and Churches Together in Chelmsford for their financial assistance and Churches in Chelmsford for publishing our Directory.

In the discussion that followed a number of ideas designed to develop our campaign were discussed; these will be followed up by the Steering Committee. Traidcraft was also thanked for bringing along a vast range of products for sale.

At the 2012 AGM, after Chelmsford was awarded city status, we changed our name to Chelmsford City Fairtrade Campaign.

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2 Responses to About Us

  1. John Bowes says:

    I thought you might be interested in a new book on Fair Trade which is entitled ‘The Fair Trade Revolution’. The objective of the book is to inform, influence and inspire people to support Fairtrade. It can be checked out on the following link:
    http://www.plutobooks.com/display.asp?k=9780745330785&
    I think it may also be available from the Fair Trade Foundation.
    John

    • Malcolm Wallace says:

      John is correct, it is an excellent book. I purchased a copy at the London launch of Fairtrade Fortnight. The Fairtrade Foundation’s website says: The Fair Trade Revolution
      Edited by John Bowes, published by Pluto Press, Feb 2011, £11.50 rrp A lively survey of Fair Trade and the challenges facing it, written by some of the leading lights in the Fair Trade movement. Malcolm Wallace

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