The inaugural meeting of the Stonehaven Fairtrade Group took place last Saturday at South Church Hall.
A constitution was adopted, Rachel Shanks was elected chair and Clare Clouston was elected treasurer.
Councillor Peter Bellarby, outgoing chair of the steering group, reported that both Stonehaven and District Community Council and the Town Partnership supported the idea of becoming a Fairtrade Town. Surveys of bed and breakfast establishments, restaurants and cafés are currently taking place and show many places offer Fairtrade goods.
There is also strong support from the town’s churches and, so far, three schools have expressed their support. The group is hoping to apply for Fairtrade Town status later this year. Traidcraft Fairtrade goods are on sale on the last Saturday of every month from 10 until noon in South Church, Cameron Street.
Cllr Bellarby said: “Good progress has been made already towards Stonehaven becoming a Fairtrade Town with support from the community council, Town Partnership, Aberdeenshire Council, and local churches, schools and businesses.”
To achieve Fairtrade status, the group must get support from workplaces and community organisations such as schools, and ensure that Fairtrade product ranges can be made readily available within outlets in the town.
They also have to get backing from local government, promote Fairtrade and keep the campaign going.
The group have said that they plan to organise special events during Fairtrade Fortnight each year as well as ongoing events to increase public awareness, and they plan to work with local schools to promote Fairtrade within them.
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing nations. Find out more at wwww.fairtrade.org.uk
Portlethen is currently campaigning for Fairtrade status for their town, and recently held a fundraising coffee morning.