Friday, March 27, 2009

Thanks and Congratulations

One of the last engagements of the mayoral year for the present mayor of Stockton was to present certificates to a number of organisations in the borough which have supported Fairtrade over the past year or more. The list included churches, cafes and Queen's Campus of Durham University as well as one of the small shops recently converted to a Co-op store. It was heartening to hear from their representative that they now have as regular customers many of the older residents of their neighbourhood so they're providing a much improved community facility as well as increasing the turnover of the shop and selling a wide range of Fairtrade goods. Win, win, win!
The certificates were presented in the Council Chamber and the mayor gave a very brief outline of its history, which seemed to interest everyone there.
The organisations represented were:
Elm Tree Community Centre
St Peter's Church, Stockton
All Saints Church, Preston
The Oakwood Centre, Eaglescliffe
Stockton Parish Church,
Norton Methodist Church,
St Joseph's RC Church, Norton
St John the Baptist Church, Egglescliffe,
Yarm Methodist Church,
St Mary Magdalene Church, Yarm
Fairfield Garage Co-op shop
Stockton United Reformed Church
Queens Campus, Durham University
Angie's Kitchen at The Five Lamps Centre, Thornaby
Friends of Ropner Park for the cafe in the park

The work done by these people month after month might seem quite small in the global scheme of things but it contributes to a huge movement, helping 7.5m people across the world to work their way out of poverty. From avocado growers to wine producers they are all better off because people buy Fairtrade products.
By way of an indication of how the Fairtrade mark is becoming better known I told people about the evening before when one of the staff in my local Co-op asked me where I got my Fairtrade badge from. The more usual question is "what's that badge for?".
Stockton-on-Tees Teaching Primary Care Trust couldn't send a representative so arrangements will be made to present their certificate soon.
Any readers in Stockton borough who know of places which sell or serve Fairtrade goods please do let me know. We want to celebrate their commitment.

Then it was time to go home, have a quick meal and hurry out to meet with Lib Dem colleagues from the borough and the region to discuss plans for the European Parliamentary election on June 4th. Fiona Hall MEP is seeking re-election and she's done such good work in the Parliament for the North East that we're all keen to ensure success. She's encouraged investment in renewable energy and green technologies in the North East, she's campaigned to cut waste from the EU budget, and worked on cutting red tape as well as on such practical matters as forcing mobile phone companies to stop charging us an arm and a leg for using our phones in another country. A campaigner we don't want to lose!

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