Joyce Holland
Local Information

Coniston and Torver are two Lake District villages linked on one side by Coniston Water and on the other by Conston Old Man and surrounding fells. The area is immensely popular with visitors but has a resident population of less than 1000. We were delighted to win Fairtrade status in 2007, particularly as we had to work very hard to meet all the criteria. Coniston Co-op has stocked an amazing range of Fairtrade products for a long time and many local B&Bs provide their guests with Fairtrade goods. Add to that the involvement of no less than 4 outdoor education centres and 4 churches and we seemed to be on our way. Originally the Fairtrade Foundation expected our Parish Councils to serve Fairtrade drinks in all their offices and canteens but since a monthly meeting with no refreshments is as much as either village manages, that requirement was overlooked! However, getting local cafes to sell Fairtrade drinks proved tougher as most were tied into selling the goods marketed by the firms that provided their coffee makers. We eventually managed to overcome that hurdle and duly celebrated our success.

Weekly Warmer

The continuing central activity of our group is running a Fairtrade coffee morning every Wednesday (10.00-1.00) at St,Andrew's Parish Church in Consiton village.This places the Fairtrade message before visitors and locals alike and has even had a visit from our MP, Tim Farron who is a big supporter of Fairtrade. Homemade soups, scones and cakes and a Traidcraft stall complement the warm welcome in simple but friendly surroundings. The aim of the coffee mornings is to promote Fairtrade and provide a service to the local community, not to make money, but over the last 7 years thousands of pounds have been donated to Fairtrade and other development and relief projects.

High Tea

Summer 2008 revealed Conston and Torver as having the height of good taste as the Fairtrade Group joined forces with University of Birmingham in promoting Fairtrade to thirsty walkers. As the culmination of a five day course in team building and corporate enterprise, postgraduate students staying at the University's Raymond Priestly Centre on the shores of Coniston Water were challenged to take the message to a choice of venues in the area. Tarn Hows was quickly chosen as one of the sites, a second being the head of Conston Water. "Top" choice was even more challenging as the team hauled not just themselves but also the water, stove and provisions to the top of 2635foot Conston Old Man. With a publicity outpost at the foot of the mountain and the main work on a sunny summit, walkers could not miss the point. Tea, coffee and fruit juice plus cereal bars were offered free of charge to all who made it to the top. Donations covered the costs and left a good bit over to go towards the Fairtrade work.

Going across the Atlantic

2010 saw us cross the Atlantic as our Conston and Torver Fairtrade logo was rowed from The Canaries to Antigua on the "Beech Boys" boat. This was in support of Conston father and son, Norman and James Beech, in their bid to raise money fof Water Aid.

Record Breakers

As part of Fairtrade Fortnight 2011, bunting was distributed around the village and decorated by children from both of the schools, Crusaders, Hawkshead Brownies and local residents.This was displayed at a sale organised by the Fairtrade Group at St Andrews Church. It was then sent to the Fairtrade Foundation, where it was sown together with others from all over the country and displayed in Battersea Park on World Fairtrade Day, breaking the record for the longest and fairest line of bunting the world has ever seen.