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Sweet things hit the spot in Renfrewshire Fairtrade Bake Off

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[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Hundreds were sweet for the Fairtrade Bake Off as they packed into Paisley Town Hall to watch Helen McLaughlin, from Paisley crowned the competition winner.

The winning cake, a peanut butter cake, was made using Fair Trade peanut butter, bananas, caster sugar and dark, white and milk chocolate.

fair trade group

Judging the Bake Off was Guatemalan Fairtrade coffee and honey farmer Ismael Diaz Rivas, Councillor Jim Sharkey, Chair of the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Board and Ken Clark, Owner of Redss.

The winning criteria was based on creativity, appearance, taste and the number of Fairtrade ingredients used in the bake.

At the Bake Off, Councillor Sharkey said: “It is great to see so many people take part in the Bake Off and get to know that Fairtrade ingredients are available right on their doorstep. Even changing one product we buy to a Fairtrade product can make a huge difference to the lives of farmers in poorer areas of the world.


“I would like to thank Ismael for coming all the way from Guatemala to share his life story with us, showing us firsthand how Fairtrade is making a difference to his community.

“Meeting someone like Ismael who is making cooperation work is a great way to spread the real message of Fairtrade that everyone benefits when we treat each other fairly and cooperate across the world.

“Fairtrade helps farmers by giving them a fairer deal. Farmers are then able to give their children an education, use better crop growing techniques and help their communities to grow and prosper.”

Helen McLaughlin said: “I was really surprised but pleased to win the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Bake Off. There was a wide variety of entries in the competition, so I wasn’t sure how my cake was going to do.

“I took part in the Bake Off to show my support for Fairtrade, but it was also a lot of fun as well.”

Rainbow Turtle also hosted a Traidcraft Big Brew at the event offering Fair Trade tea, coffee and cakes to raise money for the Traidcraft Exchange.

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Fairtrade farmer visits Renfrewshire for Fairtrade Fortnight


[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]A Guatemalan farmer is visiting Renfrewshire to pass on his experience of how Fairtrade has transformed the prospects for his rural community.

Ismael Diaz Rivas will be visiting schools, businesses and community groups during Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from 23 February to 8 March.


Ismael is president of the CIPAC cooperative which operates in the North West of Guatemala and currently comprises 140 members- 105 of which are beekeepers, 20 are coffee producers and 15 operating in both markets.

Being part of a Fairtrade cooperative allows Ismael, and his community, to benefit from increased income, training, technical assistance, investment in facilities and access to loans. Without this help the producers would struggle to earn enough money to have a basic standard of living.

Ismael will be taking his place as one of the judges for the Renfrewshire Fairtrade bake off on Saturday 28 February, which will see bakers battle it out to take first place by using as many Fairtrade ingredients as possible in their creation. All are welcome to attend, taste the cakes after the judging and learn more about Fairtrade.

Councillor Jim Sharkey, Chair of the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome Ismael to Renfrewshire to help us celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight and I’m sure his visit will prove inspiring for all those who cross his path.

“A tremendous amount of work takes place by many committed individuals and organisations in Renfrewshire and it is fantastic to see this work vindicated by Ismael’s appreciation and kind words.

“Having had experience in the co-operative movement myself, it is great to meet a fellow cooperator and see that this method of working can be mirrored in different countries and organisations.

“I am looking forward to taking my place alongside Ismael judging the Renfrewshire Fairtrade bake off on Saturday at Paisley Town Hall. I would urge people to come along to meet Ismael and hear his fascinating life story.”

Rainbow Turtle will host a Traidcraft Big Brew at the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Bake Off, selling Fair Trade tea, coffee and cakes for everyone at the Bake Off and raising money for the Traidcraft exchange. Fairtrade goods will also be in offer at the Rainbow Turtle stall.

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Renfrewshire will rise to the Fairtrade Bake Off challenge

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Renfrewshire residents are being urged to don their aprons and get baking for Fairtrade Fortnight.

Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Bake Off, which takes place on Saturday 28 February at 1.30pm, aims to encourage residents to seek out Fairtrade ingredients to use in the competition.

fair trade

Entrants need to sign up by Friday 20 February to take part and bring their cake along to the Bake Off for judging.

Anyone signing up before Friday 6 February will receive a bag of Fairtrade sugar to help get them started.

The winning entry will receive a top prize of a KitchenAid mixer, after going through the heats on the day in Paisley Town Hall.

The Bake Off supports the Fairtrade Foundation’s campaign to put a spotlight on the difference buying Fairtrade makes to the lives of Fairtrade farmers, helping them support their children through education and making ends meet for their families.

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By simply making small changes to our daily habits, such as changing our regular brand of chocolate to a Fairtrade version, or looking out for the Fairtrade logo when we shop, we can help transform the lives of others in poorer parts of the world.

Chair of the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group, Councillor Jim Sharkey, said: “Renfrewshire Council is a proud supporter of Fairtrade and is committed to promoting fairness and sustainability both at home and abroad.

“Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Bake Off is a great way for people to get involved in Fairtrade. While the competition may be stiff, a key component of the event is to promote the huge variety of Fairtrade products available and why making an informed choice to buy Fairtrade really helps make a difference to others.

“Together with a range of local organisations, we are building on our commitment to Fairtrade. We do our utmost to promote the value of Fairtrade to our employees, customers and communities, we support campaigns to give farmers a fairer deal and we continue to work with local retailers to stock Fairtrade products.”

Rainbow Turtle will be joining the Bake Off with a Traidcraft Big Brew, hosting Fair Trade tea, coffee and other cakes for everyone coming along to support the event.

People can sign up to the Bake Off by emailing or calling 0141 618 6745.

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Senior diplomat welcomed for Fairtrade visit


Senior diplomat welcomed for Fairtrade visit

Renfrewshire rolled out the red carpet as a senior diplomat visited the area to find out how a Paisley business is helping improve the lives of people in Africa.

Bernard Sande, Malawi’s High Commissioner to the UK, had requested to make a special visit to Fairtrade wholesaler Just Trading Scotland.

Fairtrade products are those which guarantee that producers in the developing world have been given a fair price for their goods.

Mr Sande was welcomed by Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan and Councillor Brian Lawson, the Convener and Deputy Convener of Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Steering Group.

Fairtrade visit JTS

They were joined by directors of Just Trading Scotland and by pupils from Gryffe and Trinity High Schools for a tour of the building, before Mr Sande headed over to Paisley Abbey for a discussion on trade.

Councillor Macmillan said: “We were delighted to welcome the High Commissioner to Paisley and it is testament to the good work being carried out by Just Trading Scotland that he asked to come here to see it for himself.

“He told us about some of the issues surrounding the export of rice from Malawi, and of the impact that the Fairtrade movement has had in his home country.

“By buying fairly-traded products, residents of Renfrewshire are helping to improve living conditions for farmers in poorer parts of the world.

“People and organisations across Renfrewshire have been involved in a lot of work to help promote Fairtrade over the past few years.

“Renfrewshire achieved Fairtrade area status in 2009, and Paisley, Bishopton, Lochwinnoch and Renfrew have all become Fairtrade towns or villages.

“We look forward to continuing the campaign with a series of local events planned for Fairtrade Fortnight 2013, which takes place in February and March.”

John Riches, JTS director, said: “We were very encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the High Commissioner for the work we are doing promoting Malawi Kilombero rice in Scotland.

“He pledged support for our plans for development among rice farmers in the north of Malawi. And he said how much he was encouraged by the support and enthusiasm of of young people in schools in Scotland. It’s all a great boost for fair trade and for the work we do at Paisley.”

Just Trading Scotland is unique within Scotland in that it imports and distributes Fairtrade goods, while helping to expand the scheme throughout Africa.

Renfrewshire Council supports JTS, which based at a warehouse at Wallneuk in Paisley, by helping to provide accommodation.

The council’s Fairtrade Steering group features representatives from the council, local schools, higher education bodies and businesses, as well as from the various Fairtrade groups set up in the area’s towns and villages.

Malawi is one of the world’s least-developed countries, where around half the population have to live on less than $1 a day, and agriculture accounts for more than a third of GDP.

For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or on Facebook at

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Make your festivities Fairtrade

Councillor Lawson shops for Fairtrade Christmas gifts

Make your festivities Fairtrade

People in Renfrewshire are being urged to make their festive season a Fairtrade one this year.

Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Steering Group is encouraging local residents to keep up their excellent track record of supporting independent producers in developing countries by buying gifts and decorations with the approved Fairtrade logo this Christmas.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Brian Lawson, Chair of Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “By buying items with the Fairtrade logo we are ensuring a better deal for the people who make them. This is especially important at Christmas time, the season of goodwill.

“There is a huge range of Fairtrade products available these days from present ideas such as bags, jewellery, clothes, to Christmas cards and decorations, wrapping paper or even Fairtrade food and wine.”

Fairtrade items are available in several major shops and local retailers. Councillor Lawson popped into Paisley’s Rainbow Turtle shop on Gauze Street to check out their collection of festive Fairtrade goods.

There is also a range of cafes, restaurants and venues in Renfrewshire serving Fairtrade food and drink where you can pop in for a coffee to refuel after your shopping trip, or for Christmas celebrations with friends and family.

Councillor Lawson added: “This has been a great year for Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade campaign with many schools achieving Fairtrade status. Paisley Fairtrade Partnership was also named runner up in this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight Award for the Best Cotton activity. Let’s all keep up this hard work by making this a Fairtrade festive season.”

A full list of Renfrewshire Fairtrade outlets can be found on Renfrewshire Council website,

For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our page on Facebook at

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Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Campaign scoops another award

Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade campaign has been named runner up for a national award by the Fairtrade Foundation.

Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Steering Group was runner up for the Best Outreach and Networking Campaign in the Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 awards.

The awards, sponsored by the Co-operative Group, celebrate the achievements of Fairtrade campaigners and supporters during the annual two-week Fairtrade Fortnight campaign, this year held from 22nd February – 7th March 2010.
Fairtrade Fortnight is promoted by networks around the country including businesses, charities, trade unions, student groups, churches and other faith-based organisations. Thousands of people organized events all over the country to raise awareness of Fairtrade, and encourage people to swap to Fairtrade products, in keeping with the overall theme of Fairtrade Fortnight 2010: The Big Swap.

The judging panel were impressed with Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Fortnight events including a Fairtrade Tea Dance, Tea Party, roadshow and producer visits to schools as well as taking part in national events such as the COSLA conference. They also praised Renfrewshire’s
‘ I Swap’ campaign as an excellent resource for getting people to sign up to pledges to swap their regular shopping items for Fairtrade versions.

Councillor Brian Lawson, chair of the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “This is a huge compliment to the volunteers who have made Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade campaign such a success. Without their dedication we would not be able to run such a range of events and initiatives which enable us to reach out to all aspects of our communities and beyond.

“Since Fairtrade Fortnight we’ve continued to spread the Fairtrade message by taking part in a wide range of events from running a schools World Fairtrade Day poster campaign, to handing out Fairtrade bananas to the 1500 runners in this year’s Paisley 10k, thanks to support from the Co-operative Group.

“We are all delighted with this award and will put the prize money to good use continuing our success with next year’s Fairtrade Fortnight.”

The winners will be presented with prizes by Fairtrade Foundation Executive Director Harriet Lamb, at the national Fairtrade Supporter Conference at Kings College London on Saturday 9 October.
400 Fairtrade campaigners from around the UK will attend to share the latest Fairtrade news, hear from keynote speakers and pick up new skills to help promote Fairtrade in their local communities. For full details of the conference visit:
Veronica Pasteur, competition judge and Head of Campaigns at the Fairtrade Foundation said: ‘I wish we could award prizes to all the groups across the country who put on an amazing range of events and activities during Fairtrade Fortnight 2010. But these winners showcase some of the most creative, interesting, far-reaching and media-worthy actions that happened as part of the Big Swap and we hope that the funding they receive as part of their award will help them to greater things in Fairtrade Fortnight 2011! Huge congratulations to everyone involved: the winners and all the Fairtrade Town groups as well as schools, universities and faith groups who got involved in Fairtrade Fortnight. Together we reached more people than ever with the Fairtrade message, helping them to understand the impact of Fairtrade and make positive choices when they shop to ensure farmers and workers get a better deal..’

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Enjoy A Fairtrade Festive Season


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People in Renfrewshire are being urged to have a Fairtrade festive season.

Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Steering Group is encouraging local residents to continue their efforts to support Fairtrade by buying goods with the approved logo this Christmas.

Councillor Brian Lawson, Chair of Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “By buying items with the Fairtrade logo we are ensuring a better deal for the people who produced them. This is especially important at Christmas time, the season of goodwill.

“There is a fantastic and wide range of Fairtrade products available these days, so whether it’s presents, Christmas cards, wrapping paper or even decorations why not try making at least some of your Christmas shopping Fairtrade this year.”

Fairtrade items are available in several major shops and local retailers. Councillor Lawson popped into Paisley’s Rainbow Turtle shop on Gauze Street to check out their collection of festive Fairtrade goods.

Councillor Lawson added: “This has been a great year for our Fairtrade campaign with Renfrewshire and Lochwinnoch both achieving Fairtrade status at the start of the year, through to Houston Primary becoming our first official Fairtrade primary in November. Let’s all keep up this hard work by making this a Fairtrade festive season.”

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Wallace Day pictures


Wallace day pictures taken by our very own westender..

Paisley Taxi Companys


If you are planning on visiting Paisley then getting about “or getting back from the pub” is a priority and you will be wanting to know the number of some local and trustworthy taxi /cab companies in Paisley and Renfrewshire.

  • Paisley Cab Co Ltd telephone number 0141 887 7770
  • Paisley Taxi’s “Hackney” 0141 884 5760 website
  • Airport Taxis telephone number 0141 848 4900
  • Paisley Radio Cars telephone number 0141 889 6677
  • Paisley and Glasgow Airport Taxi Owners Association “Hackneys”telephone number 0141 889 5050

Johnstone Taxis:

  • United Taxis telephone number 01505 331 555
  • Gryffe Taxis telephone number 01505 324 111
  • Johnstone Taxis telephone number 01505 321 444

Renfrew Taxis:

  • Clyde one cars telephone number  0141 886 7111
  • Arkleston Radio cars telephone number 0141 812 6666