Egremont

Carole Woodman
email: stevewoodman@talk21.com
Local Information

Egremont is a traditional market town, with a charter going back to Henry III, and the remotest town in England. Famous for its Norman castle and unique Crab Fair It has a population of 7500 and not necessarily the obvious choice for the 102nd Fairtrade Town, the 11th in Cumbria.

There are a number of exciting projects aimed at regenerating Egremont; Fairtrade can play an important part in raising the profile of this attractive town.

Background

We convened our Fairtrade town committee in December 2005 and launched our campaign in March 2006. The launch was made by Mayor Clarkson at our Farmers' Market. We had local Cumbrian and Traidcraft produce as well as Fairtrade refreshments. Three local schools had produced wonderful banners for the “Get Creative” theme of Fairtrade Fortnight. There was also an inspirational talk by Beryl and Peggy from the successful Millom Fairtrade Town group.

Our campaign was able to draw together different parts of the community that had been supporting Fairtrade for many years — the Methodist and Catholic Churches, St Bridget's Catholic Primary School and various sections of Wyndham secondary School. The Copeland-Rungwe, Tanzania Community link had provided an important direct link with a developing Country. Dedicated individuals had already laid the groundwork for our campaign for Fairtrade Town status, it was just a case of drawing everything together.

Because of this we were able to apply for Fairtrade Town status in record time, which was granted in July. Joe Human officially presented our certificate on October 10th in the presence of the Mayor Willis Metherell, the leader of Copeland Borough Council (Elaine Woodburn) and a number of Town Council, Copeland Council and Cumbria County Council members. We had a talk by the Rungwe Tanzanian link about their recent visit and Fairtrade wine kindly donated by the Co-op and local cheeses from Mawsons of Seascale.

We are lucky to have a committee of dedicated individuals representing different sections in the community. Simon Walker and Toni Lewthwaite (Egremont Regeneration), June Bland (Egremont Town Council), Ruth Banks (WI), Ralph Merrett (Local Business), Karen Storr(Arts Project) and Carole Woodman (Local Farmer).

Egremont Fairtrade Town Committee took over the running of this market in March 2006 after it folded in 2005. We have built it back up to a very successful bustling market, currently the only one in Copeland. We have over 12 regular stalls, ranging from local crafts, pork, Cumberland sausage, lamb, beef, speciality breads and cakes, milk, cheese, butter, fudge, free-range eggs, preserves, fruit and vegetables, and plants, to Traidcraft and other Fairtrade produce and crafts. Fairtrade refreshments are provided by different community organisations, which has been a useful way for them to raise money. The market is in Egremont Market Hall on the 3rd Friday of the month between 9.30 and 1pm (18May, 15 June, 20th July, 17yh Aug, 21 Sept, 19 Oct, 16 Nov, 21 Dec). The income from the Market supports our Fairtrade Town campaign.

Copeland-Rungwe, Tanzania Cummity Link

The link was established 20 years ago and during that time they have funded and hosted visits of 50 - 60 students, teachers and members of the Rungwe community to this part of West Cumbria. Around 200 West Cumbrians have experienced rural Tanzanian life and assisted in building schools and funding youngsters in Secondary education (the annual school fee is currently £60).

Rungwe is a major tea growing area and we have been able to put the community in touch with local Fairtrade groups. The Fairtrade Group in Egremont is looking at extending this, hoping to sell more of their crafts and produce in Egremont.