This is a bit of a delayed write up about an event at the beginning of June! We’ve been so busy that Esther’s only just caught up with blogging! So here goes…
On Saturday 13th June Fairtrade Yorkshire held a meeting for representatives from the Fairtrade Support Groups within the Yorkshire region to gather together and discuss progress, ideas and developments. Janet and Esther went along with Sophie Bebb (from fairandfunky and who is also Janet’s lovely daughter!) & Peter Beetlestone. We represented the Holme Valley Fairtrade Support Group.
There were representatives from many areas including Leeds, Bradford, Baildon, Batley, Scarborough and Spen as well as a couple who are setting up a Fairtrade Support Group in Selby. Hannah Langdana (from Leeds Fairtrade) was the facilitator of the meeting. There was a lot to discuss and each group had the opportunity to share their challenges and successes with the others to encourage and update the room on what was going on in each area.
There were a few interesting points shared which we thought worth mentioning:
- 96% of those who attended the Co-Op Annual General Meeting voted for the co-op to continue stocking and working with Fairtrade suppliers.
- There has been a noticeable drop in the stocking of Fairtrade products in local stores and we were encouraged to [respectfully] challenge the store managers about it.
- To challenge schools / councils to include Fairtrade products as mandatory ingredients within school meals tenders.
From a social media point of view it was very interesting to observe that most of the groups were not on or not making use of their social media presences. Only about 3 groups were on either Facebook or Twitter and most of those didn’t really use them. Holme Valley Fairtrade were by far the furthest ahead of the other groups with their social media campaigns and local support. This was interesting as the original vibe towards social media was a little negative before Esther explained about the #MissingBanana campaign and the positive engagement that created and encouraged local awareness. By the end of the meeting it was agreed that the groups should be supporting one another and connecting online. As a result most attendees agreed that they’d benefit from some form of social media training to make best use of their existing social media platforms or learn how to set them up correctly.
We were glad to go represent and also to meet other members of various Fairtrade Support Groups. It’s good to get a perspective of who else is working towards the same goal as well as sharing the challenges and successes of the journey so far.