Fairtrade Schools in Cumbria

Harriet Lamb with Annaliese Murray and Flo Lindeman at Ullswater College.

The growth of Fairtrade Schools has been much slower in Cumbria than in other parts of the country and much slower than the growth in Fairtrade communities, but it is now taking off. The first secondary school to receive Fairtrade status was St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Workington and the first primary school was Brampton Primary School. Both received their awards in 2007. Since then growth has continued to be slow with only four 4 more being added: Ullswater College (Penrith), High Hesket Primary School, Keswick School and Cockermouth School.

However, there is now much activity and many schools are now in the pipeline for Fairtrade status. This has come about partly through the activities of Cumbria Development Education Centre with whom Cumbria Fair Trade Network in now closely working, and partly through the excellent relationships which Cumbrian Fairtrade groups have established with their local schools.

All this work – with CDEC and at the local level – was bolstered through a Fairtrade Pupil Conference hosted by the Fairtrade group at Keswick School on 22nd January 2010, and attended by about 90 pupils and 30 teachers from 24 schools. The conference was funded by the Coop, CAFOD, Cumbria Fair Trade Network and the Fairtrade Foundation. Schools attending ranged from those who are just beginning to work on Fairtrade, to those who already have Fairtrade School status. Keynote speaker was Harriet Lamb, Director of the Fairtrade Foundation who presented the awards of Fairtrade School status to Keswick and Cockermouth Schools.

There are now a dozen or more schools aiming for Fairtrade status and we expect that by Fairtrade Fortnight 2011 many of these will have been successful.