Bexhill has had its Fairtrade Town status renewed for another two years.
The town, which has had Fairtrade status since 2007, had to meet five criteria in order to retain its title, including having an active Fairtrade Committee; active support of the local council; a required number of shops and cafés/restaurants selling and using Fairtrade products, based on population size; and having organisations, churches, businesses and faith groups with some involvement in Fairtrade products and promotion.
The Bexhill Fairtrade Committee presented the renewal certificate to Councillor Doug Oliver, leader of Rother District Council. Former Bexhill councillor Abul Azad, who attended more than 30 Fairtrade events during his time as mayor, also presented the Fairtrade certificate to the new Bexhill mayor, councillor Kathy Harmer, who has also been a long-standing supporter of Fairtrade in Little Common.
But the work doesn’t stop there. The Bexhill Fairtrade Committee says it won’t be happy until 90 per cent of cafés, restaurants and shops give customers the visible choice of Fairtrade products.
The committee is also issuing the Fairtrade Rice Challenge to all churches, faith groups, schools and organisations in the area. The challenge is to buy and/or sell 1kg bags of Malawi Fairtrade rice, as every 90 bags of rice bought pays for a year’s secondary school education for the farmer’s child. In the past two-and-a-half years, Bexhill’s rice sales have funded 17 students.
Jack Doherty, chairman of the Bexhill Fairtrade Committee, said: “We would like to thank all in the Bexhill community for including Fairtrade items in their shopping lists. There are so many more products on the shelves crying out for us to buy and change the lives of the hands behind them.”