Renfrewshire will host a packed programme of events during this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight as part of the bid to make the whole area a Fairtrade zone.

Schoolchildren, students, local businesses, churches and Renfrewshire Council have joined forces and formed the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group to push forward plans to achieve Fairtrade status for Renfrewshire.

The group will co-ordinate a wide variety of events taking place during Fairtrade Fortnight (25 February – 8 March).

These include a Fairtrade roadshow which will travel to venues across the area such as Braehead shopping centre, Glasgow Airport, Castle Semple visitor centre, Renfrew leisure centre, and the Paisley campus of the University of the West of Scotland. Volunteers from Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group will run a stall providing leaflets, sample tasters and information on why Fairtrade is important.

Another key event will see Kenyan tea farmer Julius Ethang’ Atha speaking at a Fairtrade coffee morning in Paisley Town Hall (Saturday 1 March). His talk will outline the struggle farmers in developing countries face.

The bid to make the whole of Renfrewshire a Fairtrade zone follows on from the successes of Paisley and Bishopton, both of which have achieved Fairtrade status in recent years. Trinity High School in Renfrew has also led the way by becoming the first Fairtrade secondary school in Scotland.

Councillor Derek Mackay, chair of Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “Fairtrade Fortnight is a big opportunity for us to push towards our target of making Renfrewshire a Fairtrade zone.”

“We have an excellent starting point with Paisley and Bishopton and are drawing on their experience and that of our neighbours in East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire who have already been successful.”

“Our schools are getting behind the bid by hosting Fairtrade events and educating young people about the difference fair trading can make. Renfrewshire Council has also pledged its commitment to using fairly traded products wherever possible.”

“There is lots happening over Fairtrade Fortnight and we hope to reach lots of people to show how Renfrewshire to make a difference.”

Press release: Thursday 21 February 2008 from www.renfrewshire.gov.uk