- Claire Feeney
- email: email@example.com
Seeped in history, the 2,000-year-old Border City has a turbulent past. Part of the debatable lands during the time of the Reviers, the city has been in both English and Scottish territory. Carlisle Castle was briefly home to Mary, Queen of Scots. During the Stuart Civil Wars, the City was staunchly Royalist and endured a long siege at the hands of the Roundheads. Industry boomed during the industrial revolution causing the city to expand.
However, Carlisle is not fixed in the past. Castle and cathedral sit side by side with fantastic shops and galleries. Three university campuses ensure a student population which has produced a lively social scene and buzzing nightlife. A feast of cultural events takes place throughout the year in the centre. There are also many cafés, some of which offer a Fairtrade alternative.
The Carlisle Fairtrade Group, under the umbrella of the Carlisle One World Centre, represents retailers, schools, colleges, churches and the local government. The campaign for trade justice in Carlisle began with the opening of the One World Centre in the Church of Scotland roughly 10 years ago. Today, the One World Centre has its own premises on Lowthian's Lane adjoining the Carlisle World Shop, a Fairtrade shop accredited by British Association of Fairtrade Shops (BAFTS).
Fairtrade products are now readily available in many other city centre shops and cafes. A number of local businesses and organisations have now signed up to use and promote Fairtrade products.
Inspired by the opening of the Carlisle World Shop in September 2003, a small group decided to take on the challenge of making Carlisle a Fairtrade city. It began as small group of activists who each brought their own skills to the campaign. This group applied for funding in 2004 which enabled them to campaign more effectively. With the support of the Judith Pattinson, the outgoing mayor, the group gained the resolution from the City Council needed in support of Carlisle as a Fairtrade City.
In March 2005 Carlisle became one of the first 100 towns to receive Fairtrade status. The Mayor, Councillor Ralph Aldersey, officially marked Carlisle as a Fairtrade city at a special celebration on Monday 7 March. Councillor Aldersey said: “I am very proud that our city wishes to uphold the aims of the Fairtrade Foundation, which exists to improve the position of poor and marginalized producers in the developing world. The City Council is committed to helping to promote Fairtrade wherever we can.”
At this event in the Tithe Barn, guest speaker Tadesse Meskela presented the Mayor with a certificate from the Fairtrade Foundation. Mr Meskela is the General Manager of the Oromia Coffee Farmers' Co-operative Union in Ethiopia. He works to market Oromia's coffee to Fairtrade, organic and speciality buyers around the world so that his members will get a just reward for their crop. He stars in the film Black Gold, a documentary which follows Tadesse as he tries to get a fair price for his farmers.
Since gaining Fairtrade status for Carlisle, the group has continued to campaign for increased awareness of the Fairtrade mark.
Carlisle has since successfully renewed its Fairtrade City status in 2008 and 2010. The Fairtrade campaign goes from strength to strength in the city as the Fairtrade Steering Group continues to promote Fairtrade. In 2009 Carlisle hosted Cumbria's first ever Fairtrade Business Conference. This high profile event saw delegates from across the county hear from the BBC's news presenter, George Alaghia and Tate & Lyle's Marketing Manager, Julia Clark. Last year the steering group organized another high profile event. Carlisle celebrated 5 years of Fairtrade City status and 5 years of Fairtrade cotton with a community fashion show in the Cathedral, with Joe Human MBE and JAmes Redmond, of BBC's Casualty and Hollyoaks as compere. Fairtrade products are now readily available in 164 city centre shops, cafes, workplaces, schools and community organisations throughout the city
The BIG Fairtrade Garden Party with fashion parade at Morton Manor and Chances Gardens in Carlisle. Fairtrade fun for all the family