Keswick

Secretary, Keswick and District Fair Trade Campaign: Joe Human
email: j.human@zen.co.uk
82 Blencathra Street, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 4HY
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Ethiopia Link

Keswick shop treasure hunt Fairtrade Fortnight 2011

Bob Brydon advertises at Fond Ewe

Keswick Fair World Autumn Lecturer Alistair McIntosh September 30 at 7.30pm Crosthwaite Parish Rooms

Keswick is a small and thriving market town in the northern Lake District, whose size (less than 5000 residents) belies its importance as a major tourist centre. It is situated on the shores of Derwentwater, one of the many lakes lying within the Lake District National Park.

Keswick and District Fair Trade Campaign (two words) was constituted in March 2003 and launched in June 2003. We promote Fairtrade products within the wider context of Trade Justice – or fair trade.

Keswick’s economy is based on tourism: over 50% of all businesses depend on it. There are about 100 or so pubs, cafés, bars, restaurants, tea shops and coffee shops in and around the town. And Keswick is said to have the highest density of accommodation in the country with 30,000 beds, in 200 hotels, hostels, guest houses and self-catering properties.

However, as Fairtrade promoters it is not so much the beds which interest us as the breakfasts! We have, therefore, focused much of our work on the tourist sector because of its huge 'multiplier' potential. In and around the town there are now over 90 hotels, guest houses, B & Bs and hostels, 60 self-catering properties, 50 cafés, coffee shops, pubs and restaurants offering Fairtrade tea and coffee (and often more) to their guests and customers, and more than 18 shops selling Fairtrade and other fairly traded products. There are also many Fairtrade churches, and one Fairtrade school. The town is well known as a place where Fairtrade is widely available, and where many establishments see their principled support for Fairtrade as being good for business. As a result, it is now difficult for visitors to miss Fairtrade in Keswick.

There is an excellent Keswick Tourism Association, of which we are a member, and with whom we have worked closely to establish minimum standards for 'flagging' Fairtrade providers. These are now indicated on their website and in their guide (with an ‘FT’). These standards have been adopted by other tourist towns in the county and by Cumbria Tourism.

Keswick's Theatre by the Lake is one of the most successful regional theatres in the country. It is also a 'flagship' Fairtrade provider in Keswick, with an excellent café and bars which provide a range of Fairtrade drinks.

All local providers of Fairtrade and other fairly traded products are listed in our Directory which is available from the Tourist Information Centre at the Moot Hall, Theatre by the Lake, and the Library. They are also listed on our website which is still under development.

We received Fairtrade Town status on 8th March 2005, the fifth community in the county to receive the award.

Since then we have developed a friendship link with the Fairtrade coffee farming community of Choche, the ‘birthplace’ of coffee, in Ethiopia. We have visited Choche several times, and in 2008 two Choche coffee farmers came to Keswick, which for us was the highlight of our many years of campaigning. More visits are planned in the future.

We have a large membership, now approaching 300, with whom we regularly keep in contact through newsletters and e-mailings. We hold regular events, take part in community celebrations, and write frequently for the local press, parish and community magazines.

We are a founder member of Cumbria Fair Trade Network and of Keswick Fair World Alliance. We have an active Trade Justice sub-group which lobbies on issues related to trade and development, and which has an excellent working relationship with our MP, who is a member of the campaign.

Local Information

Keswick is a small and thriving market town in the northern Lake District, whose size (less than 5000 residents) belies its importance as a major tourist centre. It has been designated as a Beacon Town within the Market Towns Initiative for its good governance, its pioneering spirit and its willingness to provide examples of good practice in examining and tackling the challenges facing a small market town.

Keswick and District Fair Trade Campaign is a project within this initiative. In 2005 Keswick was awarded BIDs (Business Improvement District status), in recognition of its many qualities. This will draw in grants and other financial support to improve the town.

Keswick is said to have the highest density of accommodation in the country with 30,000 beds. As Fairtrade promoters it is not so much the beds which interest us as the breakfasts! We have, therefore, focused much of our work on the tourist sector because of its huge 'multiplier' potential. To date there are over 70 hotels, guest houses, B & Bs and hostels and almost 30 cafés, coffee shops and restaurants offering Fairtrade tea and coffee to their guests and customers in and around the town, and more than 12 shops selling Fairtrade and other fairly traded products. The town is becoming known as a place where Fairtrade is widely available, and where many establishments see their principled support for Fairtrade as being good for business. As a result, it is now difficult for visitors to miss Fairtrade in Keswick.

There is an excellent Keswick Tourism Association, of which we are a member, and with whom we have worked closely to establish minimum standards for 'flagging' Fairtrade providers. These are now indicated on their website (www.keswick.org) and in their brochure with an FT. These standards are now being adopted by other tourist towns in the county and by Cumbria Tourism.

Keswick's Theatre by the Lake is one of the most successful regional theatres in the country. It is also a 'flagship' Fairtrade provider in Keswick, with an excellent café and bars which provide a range of Fairtrade drinks and snacks.

Keswick has won many awards in the Cumbria in Bloom and Britain in Bloom competitions. In 2005 the gardeners laid out a lovely Fairtrade flower bed in Hope Park (see picture).

All local providers of Fairtrade and other fairly traded products are listed in our Directory, which is available from The Tourist Information Centre at the Moot Hall, Theatre by the Lake, Oxfam and the Library. This information is also available on our regularly updated website, at www.fairtradekeswick.org.uk. Both also list all local organisations which support Fairtrade.

Background

Our campaign was launched in June, 2003, having been conceived within Keswick Fair World Group, which itself was part of Churches Together. Serious, systematic campaigning began in December 2003 with a free Christmas lunch for people in the accommodation sector. We believe:

  • that global poverty can be significantly reduced by making the world's trading systems fairer to producers in developing countries.

We are committed to:

  • promoting the buying, selling, serving and use of Fairtrade and other recognised fairly traded products in and around Keswick;
  • lobbying the Government, international institutions and the corporate sector to play their part in making the world's trading systems fairer for poor and marginalised producers in developing countries.

We are working locally to:

  • encourage shops to stock Fairtrade and other recognised fairly traded products;
  • encourage hotels, hostels, guest houses, B & Bs, coffee and tea shops, cafés and restaurants to serve Fairtrade beverages to their guests and customers;
  • encourage churches, community groups, clubs and societies, schools, businesses, families and individuals to buy and use Fairtrade and other recognised fairly traded products;
  • raise the awareness of our members and the wider public of Trade Justice issues.

We achieved Fairtrade status for Keswick on 11th January, 2005, the fifth place in Cumbria to receive it. The award was presented by Tadesse Meskela, of the Ethiopian Oromia Coffee Farmers' Cooperative Union on 8th March, 2005, at a special ceremony at Theatre by the Lake, where he drank his own Fairtrade coffee from Ethiopia, which is served in the Theatre café!

We have stalls in the market, and at Keswick Agricultural Show. We hold coffee mornings. We work in local schools. We work through local churches. We place articles regularly in our local press. We have special activities at Christmas to promote the awareness of Fairtrade.

We have always seen the promotion of Fairtrade and other fairly traded products within the wider Trade Justice context. Our lobbying group, which merged with Keswick's MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign in 2006, meets regularly with and writes to our MP, to Government ministers, to the EU Commission, to the corporate sector and to other key players in the world's trading systems. Hence, we are a Fair Trade Campaign, which promotes Fairtrade and other fairly traded products, together with Trade Justice.

We have a membership of about 300, with whom we keep in contact through regular newsletters and other mailings. Our committee of 10 to 12 core activists meets every week, and for events we call upon another 20 - 30 supporters. Our lobbying group meets once a month. About 40% of our funds come from our members' annual subscriptions, the rest from grants, gifts and fundraising events.

In the last two years we have developed a link with the coffee farming community of Choche in Oromia, Ethiopia, who sell into the Fairtrade market. Choche is the legendary 'birthplace of coffee' (as Keswick is the 'birthplace of pencils'!). Through three visits to Choche, we have begun to build friendships, and have learned much about the impact of Fairtrade on the lives of farmers and their families, and on the whole community. (See picture). Through talks to local groups and to schools in and around Keswick we can now tell the stories about this impact. Meanwhile we promote and sell Fairtrade organic Oromia coffee from Yirgacheffe in Southern Ethiopia.

Sheila Tolley, Mayor Elizabeth Barraclough, and Tadesse Meskela, at the award of Fairtrade Town status for Keswick, 8th March, 2005, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick.


Hope Park Flower Bed, Keswick, Summer 2005.


Presenting pencils from Keswick (the 'birthplace of pencils') to Tamam, Head Teacher at Choche (the 'birthplace of coffee'), Oromia, Ethiopia, 27th January, 2006. The classroom in which this presentation took place was built by the community with money from the Fairtrade premium from their coffee.