IMPORTANT UPDATE ON TRAIDCRAFT CRISIS
Traidcraft plc, on whom we rely for our supply of Fairtrade goods has announced that they are having acute difficulties due to economic uncertainty, stagnant wages and a devalued pound following the Brexit referendum. On Sunday 7 October we will have a letter available for you to add your signature should you concur. This letter has been written by Shelagh Bain, our Fair Trader, and Rev Peter Johnston and is addressed to Ross Thomson MP. The letter highlights the issues and asks for our MP to ask Dr Liam Fox MP a question in relation to this issue.
If you would like to read the letter ahead of Sunday, please follow this link.
What Can We Do?
Shelagh Bain writes:
First of all, thank you to all of you have who have supported the Traidcraft stall over the last 8 years. Can you believe that over that time you have purchased almost £34,000 of fairly traded products and in doing do have directly impacted the lives of poor and vulnerable producers in developing countries across the world? And not only that, but you have responded magnificently to many fund raising events for particular Traidcraft projects.
So I know that you have been as shocked as I and the other stall helpers at the news that Traidcraft may have to cease trading in a few months. Many people are wondering what they can do to help prevent this from happening, so here are some practical suggestions:
First of all, please visit the Traidcraft stall after church and buy Fairtrade goods. If you are a regular customer or if you have never visited the stall, please come and see the range of products we have on display. There is something for everyone. The new Autumn/Winter catalogue is available, so you will find many new items there as well as on the Traidcraft website. (www.traidcraftshop.co.uk) You can order anything from Traidcraft through the stall with the added advantage that you won’t have to pay postage. We will even deliver bulky items to your door.
The new catalogue contains Christmas items and, although many of you may not be ready to think about Christmas yet, I would urge you to order early for two reasons: Traidcraft urgently needs a good period of trading before Christmas in order to try to avert closure. Also, because of that, many people are ordering and items are “flying off the shelves”, so to avoid disappointment, order early. You could start with ordering your Christmas cards. We have one of each of the cards available on display for you to choose. We also have some Christmas wrapping paper. Over the next few weeks, we will add some more Christmas items: decorations, gifts, food.
If you visit the Traidcraft website not only can you buy products, but you can find out more about how the company operates and how you can support it. You can read stories about the producers who make the goods you buy and the impact that has on their lives. You can sign up for emails or to receive bulletins.
Traidcraft Exchange is a charity and the sister organisation of Traidcraft plc. Some of its funding comes from the sale of Fairtrade goods by Traidcraft Plc. Traidcraft Exchange develops projects to help producers to maximise their income or work in cooperatives. It promotes women, educates producers about environmental issues and sustainability and advocates for a world where all trade is fair. Visit their website (www.traidcraft.co.uk) to find out more about how they protect producers. You can make a donation, sign up for emails or get involved in their campaigns.
And don’t forget to tell other people about Traidcraft and encourage them to do the same. Please do all you can to prevent this amazing company from disaster.
If you would like to read further information please check out the following:
The local story
The Fairtrade Stall at Ferryhill started trading in 2010 and through regularly providing an opportunity on Sunday mornings for people to purchase fairly traded goods from Traidcraft has in its first eight years seen £34,000 of goods sold.
This achievement is entirely due to our loyal customers who, week by week, stop at the stall to buy their groceries, gifts and cards. Those hundreds of bars of chocolate and countless cups of tea and coffee that have been selflessly downed have all added up to this magnificent total.
Traidcraft has over 5000 supporters in the UK, known as Fairtraders, who regularly sell Fairtrade products to others in various places, including churches, schools, colleges or universities, through websites, at work and at farmers' markets. Our sales have been so successful that we are now in the top 200 Fairtraders in the UK.
Why we do what we do
Traidcraft was begun by a group of Christians seeking a practical way to express their faith. Here is a snapshot of some of the biblical themes we seek to live out through our work.
What sorrow awaits the unjust judges and those who issue unfair laws. They deprive the poor of justice and deny the rights of the needy among my people. Isaiah 10:1-2
It's about the poor
Almost every page of the Bible speaks of God's heart for poor people and implores his people to care for them. Fair trade enables producers to work their own way out of poverty with dignity and respect. Not just to survive, but to really flourish.
It's about justice
From the year of jubilee in Leviticus, in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, right through to the final pages of Revelation, justice is a biblical theme that cannot go unnoticed.
It's about relationship
Poverty is complex and not limited to material shortage alone. Promoting well-being, dignity, participation, and relationships are key parts of our practice, and reflect our Christian perspective. Every person is created in the image of God and deserves the opportunity to flourish and fulfil their potential, both individually and in community with others.
It's about loving our neighbour
As we see clearly in the story of the good Samaritan, our neighbour is not always who we might think. Especially in a globalised world, how we make decisions that impact on our neighbours worldwide is something we can't ignore.
It's about being incarnational
As Jesus walked among us, so God walks among us, today, through his people who are filled with his spirit. We are called to act justly and love mercy.
It's about mission and service
Witnessing to God's love and grace in our life can take many forms. Showing his love and care through providing practically for the needs of others speaks volumes.
It's about stewardship
We seek to act responsibly towards God's creation and take seriously our stewardship of resources - natural, human and financial. We encourage and support those we work with to do the same.
While Traidcraft has a Christian basis and continues to be led by those committed to the Christian faith, we are happy to work with and employ those of all faiths and those of none.