Belfast Telegraph

Bangor is on the cusp of Fair Trade status

Bangor's crusade to officially become a Fairtrade town requires just one final push, according to the man behind the campaign.

Simon Harper, who ignited the campaign two years ago, says: “We have gathered such a strong wave of support from local businesses, schools, churches, community groups and residents as well as the council, that we are just short of hitting the quota of agencies needed to sign up to process our application successfully.

“Becoming Fairtrade is now easier than ever. Because it is more popular to consumers, prices have really dropped — now there is only a few pence difference in the majority of Fairtrade products to those that are not.

“Tastes have become much better too — we organised a Fairtrade taste test in Bangor town centre that highlighted this.”

He has appealed to more schools and churches in the town to sign up, adding: “We would ideally need another 10 churches to reach target.”

Guest houses and hotels have proved hardest to enlist.

“Cairnbay Lodge were the first guest house to sign up to Fairtrade Bangor and they tell us their guests remark positively on the fair trade choices they have on offer,” he said.

“To sign up all businesses, groups and other agencies need to do is use two to or more Fairtrade products. There are so many fair trade products out there now, the choices are endless.

“Our goal is to make Bangor Trade Fairtrade by June 2011 — remember we have a fairtrade Christmas sale taking place on Saturday, November 27, at the Heritage centre, providing the perfect excuse for business owners and community leaders to come out and see what’s on offer!”

Alliance Party councillor Anne Wilson who was a key player in getting North Down Borough Council to sign up to the campaign, said: “Fairtrade aims to help producers in developing countries and promote sustainability.

“It focuses on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably coffee, cocoa, tea, sugar, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers and handicrafts.

“It works with producers and growers to enable them to be self sufficient and provides them with guaranteed and stable prices.

“Fairtrade is about cutting out the middleman and the multinational companies, and purchasing goods directly from the producers. This provides higher incomes for the producers and encourages them to improve their skills and develop their communities.

“People say to me ‘I cannot make any real difference’, but I strongly disagree. I believe that if you have enough drops of water you can create an ocean.

“By becoming Fairtrade in Bangor, we can and will make a big difference together.”

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