Christmas Fairytale 2014

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It was during one of my annual Habitat for Humanity* builds in 2013 (this time to Malawi) that one of my team members revealed that his day job was designing and implementing window installations for shops in Paris, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Obviously he heard about our shop, Rainbow Turtle, in Paisley from me and he said he would come and do our Christmas windows. Believing this to be a bit of a joke I thought nothing would come of it. However, in October 2013 not only Adam, but the whole team I had been working with (18!) landed on me for a weekend, made origami animals, and installed a whole winter wonder land in our windows. This was a real demonstration of team work in action.

Christmas 2013 front


The legacy of that has been realising what a difference a good window display makes to the street and to the interest in the shop. It inspired students from the West College Scotland to design and implement our fantastic Fairtrade Fortnight jungle scene earlier this year to raise awareness of the plight of banana growers with the supermarket battles over lower prices.

Adam had suggested that we should do fairy tale scenes this year – and so linking fairy tales with our fairly traded goods has been the aim. We hope it brings a few smiles to people’s faces as well as spreading a more serious message at this time of year when we should think of those for whom life is a constant struggle. Remembering that every purchase we make has an impact on those who produce them – hopefully for the better if bought in a fair trade way.

Christmas Fairytale 2014

This is a comment from our Facebook page “Comments from our kids about this display when visiting Rainbow Turtle today – ‘awesome’ and ‘cool’!!”
There seems to be a lot of young children stopping to look at the window and it’s really lovely to see the smile appear on their wee faces when they realise what the window is portraying. They love it!

If you would like to know more about Rainbow Turtle and what we do, or fair trade in general, please visit

*Habitat for Humanity is a development charity aiming to eradicate poverty housing in the world. Teams are invited to take part in builds each year. I am recruiting for another Malawi build for 2015. These builds change our lives as well as those of the recipients of a new home. If you are interested in further information contact[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Kilbarchan celebrates becoming a Fairtrade Village.

Kilbarchan is the latest community in Renfrewshire to achieve Fairtrade status.

The Fairtrade Foundation has declared Kilbarchan a ‘Fairtrade Village’ following its successful campaign to make Fairtrade part of village life.

Kilbarchan follows in the footsteps of Paisley, Bishopton, Renfrew and Lochwinnoch, which have already achieved Fairtrade Town status.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, Chair of the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “I congratulate campaigners in Kilbarchan on this achievement. It contributes towards our share goal of being a Fairtrade Zone and gives further weight to Renfrewshire’s role in supporting Scotland as a Fair Trade nation.

“The enthusiasm and energy for Fairtrade throughout the village is impressive. The community has worked together to ensure the Fairtrade message is spread far and wide.”

Kilbarchan’s retailers, church groups, food outlets, schools and local activists have all contributed to the campaign by selling or serving Fairtrade goods or educating others about the Fairtrade movement.

Graham Batin from the Kilbarchan Fairtrade Steering Group said: “Fairtrade goods have been available and enjoyed in the village for a number of years now. The campaign has widespread spread support and it’s great to see Kilbarchan’s commitment to improving the lives of others formally recognised.

“Our organised events have helped bring us closer together as a community because everyone can get involved in Fairtrade in whichever way suits them”.

To support Kilbarchan’s bid to become a Fairtrade Village, the Steering Group organised Afternoon Tea and Scones to celebrate World Fairtrade Day and ensured the Fairtrade banana baton passed from Lochwinnoch to Bridge of Weir in last year’s Banana Relay.

Schoolchildren from Kilbarchan Primary have played their part too by signing up to Renfrewshire’s Rice Challenge helping to support Malawian rice farmers.

News of Kilbarchan’s Fairtrade status was celebrated at a Fairtrade Wine and Cheese sampling event at the Old Library. Liz Cotton, Manager of Rainbow Turtle, Renfrewshire’s only dedicated Fair Trade shop, spoke at the event of her recent visit to Nepal and first-hand experience of the positive impact of Fairtrade.

Fairtrade guarantees fair prices and conditions for third world producers and a large number of farmers say that it would be impossible to continue farming without Fairtrade.

Courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.

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Renfrewshire Fairtrade Campaign

Renfrewshire will celebrate a major milestone in its Fairtrade campaign with a weekend of events at the end of the month.

Two days of events will be held in Paisley to mark the tenth anniversary of Rainbow Turtle, Paisley-based Fair Trade charity, social enterprise and a key member of Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Steering Group.

Over Friday 31 August and Saturday 1 September, a series of events will take place in Paisley Town Hall including the Scottish Fairtrade Forum’s national Campaign Day.

fair tradeThere will also be a business lunch, workshops for schoolchildren, a session on churches supporting Fairtrade and an evening celebration for volunteers and supporters which will feature Rainbow Turtle’s producer partners from the organisation Families Especiales (Special Families) from Nicaragua.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, who will open the weekend of events, said: “Renfrewshire has a strong reputation for being one of the leading areas in Scotland for supporting Fairtrade. Over these two days we’ll be celebrating that, in particular by marking the 10th birthday and major contribution of one of our key Fairtrade partners and champions, Rainbow Turtle.

“As well as looking back on the achievements so far, the weekend will aim to keep pushing Fairtrade forward by reaching out to new partners and supporters from all areas of the community particularly local businesses.”

As part of the celebrations Traidcraft will be bringing their Autumn roadshow to the town hall and CEO Paul Chandler will be speaking to local business representatives at the business lunch about the benefits of involving Fairtrade in the workplace under the topic ‘How being good can be good for business’. The lunch will be made with Fairtrade ingredients by local catering company Redss.

Also on Friday 31 August, local schoolchildren have been invited to workshops which will include a talk on Fairtrade from Rainbow Turtle’s Nicaraguan producer partners Families Especiales.

Paul Chandler will also be speaking at a churches event on Saturday 1 August which will explore the role of churches in Fairtrade.

Rainbow Turtle was established in 2002 by a group concerned with the promotion and development of Fair trade. It is made up of two distinct areas of activity. Rainbow Turtle Just Trading runs the shop in Paisley town centre as well as supplying Fairtrade products to schools, workplaces and other organisations across Scotland. Rainbow Turtle Charity works in partnership with developing world producers to raise the profile of fair trade.

Liz Cotton, of Rainbow Turtle said: “When we started Rainbow Turtle 10 years ago fair trade was hardly on the spectrum. Little did we know how far things would go over the last decade. Thanks to the many volunteers, customers, schools, churches, village and town groups and the local council who not only caught the vision but also took fair trade forward  Renfrewshire  is now seen as one of the flag ship regions in the Scottish fair trade campaign. Fair trade is such a simple concept  but makes a huge difference to people on the other side of our world and is something we can all buy into. RainbowTurtle is more than just a shop, it changes lives and we need your continued support.”

To find out more details about all the events visit

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

Community Champions recognised by Scottish Parliament
Aug 16 2010 by Alison Rennie, Paisley Daily Express

A NEW project which aims to honour voluntary groups and charities working hard in our communities has been recognised by the Scottish Parliament.

Community Champions is a new section on the popular website which highlights a different Renfrewshire organisation every month.

The section was the brainchild of Councillor Kenny MacLaren who spoke to the Renfrewshire Council for Voluntary Services (RCVS) and about new ways of promoting local charities and voluntary groups.Now West of Scotland MSP Stuart McMillan has put a motion in the Scottish Parliament recognising the initiative.

He said: “I would like to congratulate RCVS, and Councillor MacLaren for working together to bring forward this new initiative.“This is an excellent idea to promote local organisations to a wider audience.“This collaborative approach will help to boost the profile of many local groups who don’t often get the recognition they deserve.“I was more than happy to lodge a motion in the Scottish Parliament in support of Paisley Community Champions, and I wish this project well in the future.

Brian McGuire, who runs said he was honoured by the Scottish Parliament recognition.He added: “I am delighted for the groups that we are supporting. This is superb. To be written into Scottish History, albeit in a very small way, is really something, and I would like to thank all the MSPs who have supported the motion and also Councillor MacLaren for all his hard work.”Community Champions picks a different group to be their Champion of the Month.

A special profile is put online which highlights the good work the members have been doing and the services and opportunities the group offers.It can be found by logging on at Councillor Kenny MacLaren said community groups have been contacting him to put themselves forward as Community Champions.

He added: “The Community Champions project is an excellent example of people and groups coming together to find a solution to benefit all.“When I first raised this idea with Brian and RCVS I was delighted by the enthusiasm they showed.“This helped to drive forward a project that can be copied in other areas, and shows that Renfrewshire is leading the way.“Since its launch, I have been in touch with a few groups who have seen the press stories about this site and who are interested in putting themselves forward.

”Community Champions launched in July with a profile on Rainbow Turtle, which promotes Fairtrade across Renfrewshire.

This month’s Champion is the Renfrewshire Carers Centre. Any charity, voluntary group or social enterprise in Renfrewshire who’d like to be involved with Community Champions can contact Gordon Mclean at RCVS online at or by calling 0141 587 2487.

Renfrewshire Council for Voluntary Services (RCVS) and have formed a new partnership to promote the good work being done by Renfrewshire’s charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises.

“Community Champions” is the name of the new section on the popular website that will publicise a different local charity or voluntary group each month. Each profile will provide some background on the Champion of the Month and highlight the good work they’ve been doing to make the local area a better place. New services, upcoming events and volunteering opportunities will also be featured.

Community Champions was created thanks to Councillor Kenny MacLaren talking to RCVS and about new ways of promoting local charities and voluntary groups.

Councillor Kenny MacLaren: “This is an excellent opportunity to promote worthwhile groups in Paisley. Combining RCVS’s knowledge of the local voluntary and community sector with’s excellent online presence will help to promote local groups from Paisley.

“In an era of ever reducing budgets this is an excellent example of local organisations working together to promote the best of Paisley.”

Brain McGuire, who runs, said: “We are delighted to welcome our new partners, the Renfrewshire Council for Voluntary Services. We are introducing a brand new section “Champions in our Community” – this section will highlight a different organisation in Paisley and Renfrewshire who themselves champion great and worthy causes in our area.

“We are all about promoting our town – now we also get the chance to promote local champions. It should certainly be a very exciting add on to”

Community Champions launches on Wednesday 7th July with a profile on Rainbow Turtle – they’ve had a lot of success in getting fair trade products into schools and businesses across Renfrewshire and selling such products from their shop in Paisley town centre. They have also worked hard to raise public awareness of fair trade by giving educational talks and organising special events and fundraisers, as well as playing an important part in Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Fortnight and lobbying local and national politicians to make changes in the system of world trade for the better.

Gordon Mclean, RCVS’ Information and Communications Officer who will be working on the Community Champions section with Brian, said: “RCVS is very excited about Community Champions and the potential it has for showing everyone the incredible work all the charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises are doing across Renfrewshire. These organisations are providing an incredible range of services and opportunities that make a real difference to people’s lives and help make Renfrewshire a better place.

“One of the main aims of RCVS is to promote the good work being done in Renfrewshire’s charity and voluntary sector and so it simply makes good sense to work in partnership with to bring Community Champions to life. The website is very popular, respected and well-liked because it works hard to promote the positive side of Paisley and Renfrewshire as a whole. The new Community Champions section will enable visitors to see why local charities and voluntary groups are a vital part of the positive side and allow us to reach a whole new audience.

“RCVS is proud to be working in partnership with on Community Champions and we urge everyone to check it out and discover something new about the local area.” is a community-driven web site, ran by people who either reside in Paisley or have roots in the town, dedicated to the positive promotion of Paisley to a wider audience. They offer a wide range of information services and opportunities for citizens to engage with each other, such as a public forum, events calendar, history section, Twitter account and lots more.

RCVS is a voluntary organisation that seeks to promote the interests and the effectiveness of all local community and voluntary organisations for the greater good of Renfrewshire’s citizens. From securing funding, training staff and running events to handling payrolls, printing and the creation of promotional films, RCVS also aims to help local groups no matter what their needs are.


Rainbow Turtle Backs Rainbow Nation with World Cup promotion

To celebrate the first World Cup to take place in Africa, Renfrewshire residents are being encouraged to join in a special Fairtrade competition.

Rainbow Turtle’s Fairtrade shop in Paisley is promoting African products to celebrate the World Cup being held in South Africa, the Rainbow Nation.

Anyone who buys an item made in Africa from the shop during the group stages of the competition can select a World Cup team and be entered into a free prize draw.

Following the World Cup final a winner will be chosen at random from all the entries, and will receive a £10 gift voucher for Rainbow Turtle.

Continuing with World Cup fever Fairtrade footballs and World Cup African Curry Night packs are also on offer at Rainbow Turtle. Other African products on sale include chocolate, rice, handbags, mugs, tea and coffee.

The competition is being backed by the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group.

Councillor Brian Lawson, Chair of Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “The World Cup being in Africa for the first time is the perfect excuse to celebrate the huge range of products that come from there. By buying these Fairtrade goods you are ensuring that the people who make them get a fair deal for their work and you could also be in with a chance of winning a prize.”


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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.”

for more information please see