Thursday, November 27, 2008

Highs and Lows

I started today at All Saints school, Ingleby Barwick which was launching its campaign to become a Fairtrade school. What a launch! The whole school had been taken off timetable for a day - Year 10 to do a careers day and the others to do a Fairtrade "Dragons Den meets The Apprentice". They started by meeting a real live millionaire who talked about the things they need to consider when planning their business and then I followed with a talk about why it was important for each one of them to do their bit for Fairtrade. I used some of the slides left by Juan Luis Aviles when he stayed with me in Fairtrade Fortnight this year, and talked about the choices that the co-operative in El Salvador had to make between equipment for cracking nuts or sending the children to school. The students then went off to their groups to plan. There were goods to order, adverts to write, photos to take, profit margins to decide on etc. Some groups were learning a dance to be accompanied by African drummers; others were developing a drama to show to parents while others were producing masks inspired by African designs. At the end of the day there was to be a grand competition with groups bidding for money to put their business plan into action. I couldn't stay for that part of the event but I'm going back in December to see the result - 8 stalls set out to sell their goods to parents, other students, the public and anyone else who'll turn up and spend money. A really exciting idea, helped by having local business people willing to go and get involved with the young people and help them with advice as well as becoming the "dragons" for the later part of the day.
I look forward to them becoming a Fairtrade School next year.
Leaving there on a high I made the mistake of checking my e-mails before starting on anything else. The interim chief executive had been sent a letter informing him that Eaglescliffe Post Office is to close tomorrow - how's that for plenty of notice. It's supposed to be temporary until they find another person and premises but giving us 2 days notice doesn't strike me as a great commitment to the search. However, we'll persevere. We've a couple of ideas for a venue but nothing is going to work before Christmas now I dont think.

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