One of my key priorities when I was appointed Lead Councillor for Communities and Neighbourhoods was to ensure that Exeter was would received renewal of its Fairtrade status.
Earlier today we heard back from the Fairtrade Foundation informing us that we have have had our Fairtrade City Status renewed.
As I Chair the Exeter Fairtrade Steering Group, I wish to pay tribute to everyone who has put so much effort, time, energy and creativity into ensuring as successful Fairtrade City renewal application.
The renewal letter
Congratulations to you and your group for successfully renewing Fairtrade City status for Exeter. Please find enclosed your new Fairtrade City renewal certificate.
We have enjoyed hearing about everything that you have achieved since your town last renewed Fairtrade status. It is clear that a lot of time and energy has been put in to make Fairtrade a part of the community, so we would like to pass on our congratulations and say thank you to everyone who has been involved. From your renewal form it is apparent that Fairtrade is continuing to grow in 2016 and we were particularly impressed with your engagement with schools through the organisation of the conference for Fairtrade Fortnight.
The conference sounds as if it was a great way to engage and educate local children about Fairtrade and where the foods we take for granted come from. The wide range of activities that you have run for Fairtrade Fortnight in recent years shows great initiative and outreach. For instance, the regular city centre fairs sound like they are very successful at raising awareness and were made even more effective by the addition of the smoothie bike this year. Alongside this, the involvement that you have with other events throughout the year is something to be proud of and shows the growing role that you are playing within the community. It’s great to see a wide range of diverse organisations and people on your steering group. The active involvement of the Council is very positive as is the high number of people on the mailing list. This is furthered by the broader connections that you have made, both with the Devon Fairtrade group and other Exeter based organisations such as Exeter Food Action. It’s great to see your group making strategic decisions, such as recognising the diminishing value of a Fairtrade directory. Building your relationships with local businesses to have Fairtrade promoted on their own websites will be a great way to raise awareness and engagement.
Looking to the future, it is encouraging that you have clear plans for the events and activities that you will continue to run and how you can build on them. While it is good that you feel that you can play a role in connecting interested parties with others and the wider movement, perhaps it would be possible to bring some of these wider organisations back into the steering group to bring other perspectives and ideas to the table. Furthermore, would it be possible to reach out to other faith groups who may not be as aware of Fairtrade and could also incorporate it within their activities. This could be a way of widening the reach of Fairtrade in Exeter and expand on your already impressive number of interested parties.
Overleaf we have included some web links which may provide useful information for your campaign, however if you have any more specific questions or anything that you would like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
The next renewal will be due on 21 November 2018, when we will invite you to reflect on this action plan, and develop your objectives and plans for the following two years.
Congratulations again and best wishes with your continued campaigning!
Communities Campaigns Officer