Gosforth

Joy Hughes
tel: 019467 26076
Mary Snape
tel: 019467 65359
Latest News & Events

We had our Fairtrade Status renewed in February 2010.

The main activities for Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 (22 Feb – 7 March) were:

  1. Empowering local Organisations (WI, MU, Mother & Toddler, Tea and Chat, all churches) to join in the Fairtrade Foundation’s Big Swap,
  2. Exhibition in the Methodist Church with a visit from a producer (Krishnan Sainathan, Project Manager of Agrocel Cotton, India).
In addition displays were put up in Gosforth Anglican Church and Gosforth Library and a Fairtrade Stall was arranged for Women’s World Day of Prayer on 5th March.

Currently (2010) we are revising our Fairtrade and Local Produce Directory which provides the opportunity to encourage local stores and catering outlets to offer Fairtrade products.

A display is planned at Gosforth Agricultural Show on the Churches stand on 21st August and at Wasdale Head Show on October 9th. We continue with our monthly stalls at the Methodist and Anglican churches.

The Cumbria Fair Trade Network Open Meeting will be held at Gosforth Methodist Church on Saturday 18 September 2010 from 9.30am to 3.00pm.

Local Information

Gosforth & Wasdale villages are found in one of the most scenic areas of the Western Lake District and famous for ‘Britain’s Favourite View’. Together the villages have a population of approximately 2000 and so it is remarkable that we achieved Fairtrade Status in February 2007, one of the smallest populations in the county (and the first villages) to achieve this status. We have had requests from surrounding villages to be included in our Fairtrade Directory so our campaign area is growing.

The community of Gosforth & Wasdale consists of farmers, tourism businesses (caravan and camp sites, hotels, pubs, and cafes), employees of Sellafield and other much smaller businesses and organisations, and retired people. We have a large number of passing tourists who come to climb Scawfell Pike, admire our view, visit our churches, some of whom visit our pubs, cafes and hotels before they leave!!

All local providers of Fairtrade and local produce are listed in our Directory, which is available from the Tourist Information Centre, churches and library in Gosforth.

Background

Fairtrade products were sold in Gosforth Methodist Church at a monthly Coffee Morning for many years prior to our campaign to gain Fairtrade Status. Following the award of County Fairtrade Status to Cumbria in 2006, we formed a Fairtrade Steering Group, lead by members of the Methodist and Anglican churches in Gosforth and Wasdale and including a member of Gosforth Parish Council, a school governor and a local producer. The latter was thought to be essential since Gosforth & Wasdale is largely a farming area and it was decided from the beginning of our campaign that we should include local produce in addition to Fairtrade produce.

At first the five criteria to be met to achieve Fairtrade Status: the passing of a resolution by the Council; the ‘offer’ of Fairtrade products by a certain number of shops and catering outlets (guest houses and cafes) in proportion to the population; considerable take-up by businesses, workplaces and community groups (churches, schools etc); good media coverage; and a local Fairtrade Steering Committee to ensure continued commitment to Fairtrade once it is achieved, appeared daunting. However, this was helped by the local churches already having achieved Fairtrade Status and the local village shop and several catering outlets already selling some Fairtrade products. The campaign to achieve Status focused on getting local people to recognise the Fairtrade Mark, to be aware of the benefits to disadvantaged farmers and producers in developing countries and to choose Fairtrade products. This took the form of talks to most of the local groups including Guides and Beavers, educational exhibitions in the Methodist Church to which the local schools were invited (and to which adults were welcomed), articles in the Gosforth, Nether Wasdale & Wasdale Head Parish Magazine and Fairtrade stalls in churches and at Gosforth Agriculture Show.

The Fairtrade Status award was presented by Samuel Magona, Ugandan coffee farmer on his visit to Cumbria during Fairtrade Fortnight 2007, to Alan Jacobs, Gosforth Parish Councillor, and David Killick, Clerk to Wasdale Parish Meeting. To celebrate this award a Fairtrade supper was held in Gosforth Public Hall to which members of the Fairtrade Foundation, Joe Human from Cumbria Fairtrade Network and representatives from the two Fairtrade Towns in our region, Millom & Egremont, as well as the local community were invited. The star attraction was Samuel Magona who, despite having had a very busy day talking to school children, gave a most enlightening illustrated talk on behalf of producers, especially the coffee farmers in his co-operative before making the presentations. The turn out of villagers was most encouraging since this was held on one of the wettest nights of the year.

The aims and objectives of our Fairtrade Group are as follows:

  • To promote awareness throughout Gosforth, Wasdale and district of Fairtrade and its effects both locally and on the economies and welfare of developing nations.
  • To encourage the local community to work together in this project so that traders and purchasers alike will recognise the advantages of Fairtrade.
  • To encourage the use of local produce and promote awareness of the effect on the economies and welfare of local producers.

Since receiving the award our Steering Group has continued to promote Fairtrade in the area and beyond. We published our own Fairtrade and Local Produce Directory in time for Fairtrade Fortnight 2008. We continue to hold Fairtrade stalls at both churches in Gosforth and supply Fairtrade products for sale in churches in Seascale and Cleator Moor. We also hold Christmas stalls, Fairtrade Feasts and Tea Parties, stalls at Wasdale May Festival and displays at local shows whilst encouraging local trades people to offer Fairtrade and local products. Lorrie Larkham, a member of our Steering Group, is actively involved in Seascale School’s campaign to achieve Fairtrade Status and both she and Mary Snape from Gosforth Methodist church put on educational exhibitions in the Methodist Church, the latest of which was held during Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 titled Commitment and Citizenship featuring the role of Fairtrade, to which several local schools were invited and took part. This year (2010) during Fairtrade Fortnight we were fortunate to have the project manager from Agrocel Cotton India, Krishnan Sainathan, visit us when we heard the story of Agrocel Cotton and enjoyed a very lively and probing discussion on the benefits of Fairtrade to the producers.

Along with representatives from Egremont and Millom we have been involved in the campaign for the Borough of Copeland and the West Cumbria towns of Whitehaven and Cleator Moor to achieve Fairtrade Status. In 2008/9 this campaign was going well whilst the then Mayor of Whitehaven, Keith Hitchin, was enthusiastically pursuing Fairtrade Status for Copeland, however with the change of mayor the campaign has gone cold due to lack of interested people on the Borough Council and in the two towns to pursue it.

We are always happy to welcome new members on our Steering Group which continues to campaign for greater availability of Fairtrade products, greater awareness of the benefits of Fair Trade by the local communities and visitors whilst at the same time promoting the products of local producers.