Local workplaces and community organisations including places of worship, schools, universities, colleges and other community organisations, support Fairtrade and use Fairtrade products whenever possible. Click for examples of communities pulling together.

Ringwood and beyond

The aim of Fairtrade at Ringwood School is simple – to engage and educate students across all age groups so that they will be inspired to take action, not just in school, but in the wider community. From giving presentations to the Rotary club to helping out local primary schools, students are actively encouraged to take opportunities as they arise.

When Ringwood town council decided to renew the town’s Fairtrade status in 2013, it formed a steering group including representatives from key traders such as Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, local schools, colleges and religious organisations.

Students from our school created a Ringwood directory of Fairtrade, launched a Facebook page and put together a website for Ringwood Fairtrade.

We organised a Fairtrade hot chocolate stall at Christmas, a Fairtrade market to launch Fairtrade Fortnight, a school cake sale and a raffle in the town centre organised by Sainsbury’s. Some of the events were promoted on local radio station Forest FM. Many events took place in school including a Fairtrade bake-off, lunchtime cake sales, and a special visit from author Tom Palmer who spoke to us about his book ‘Off Side’.

An annual Fairtrade fashion show followed, where students modelled clothes kindly lent from companies like People Tree, Timber! and other local brands. Koolskools invited us to visit Southampton football club’s St. Mary’s stadium.  Henry Matenda, a sugar farmer from Malawi told us how his sugar farm operates and the processing that is involved before export. And the school presented Henry and his friend with a Southampton football shirt signed by the team to thank him. Koolskools presented a logo and a strip for Henry’s football team back in Malawi.

One Ringwood student, Katy, said: ‘I really enjoyed finding out about how we are helping people in other countries.  The experience was amazing, and we all plan to keep in touch with Henry to see how Fairtrade helps him in the future.’

All of this activity – in school and in the community – led to a successful Fairtrade Town renewal application in 2013 which we are all extremely proud of. As an ambassador school, Ringwood is now working with local primary schools like Burley, Ringwood Juniors and Poulner infants to help them get more involved in Fairtrade. Teachers and children are sharing and developing ideas for them to use at school and at home. Workshops have also been held with other schools to get across the message of Fairtrade in a fun, interactive way. In our opinion, this link with other schools is vital in the development of Fairtrade schools.

Ringwood’s tips for successful school campaigning

Remind older students that participation in Fairtrade activities and events can look excellent on personal statements. Find a place for everyone. If they are creative get them involved in event planning and design. If they like working with children, get them running workshops with local primary schools and younger students. Run a fashion show and get music, media, textiles and performing arts students involved. Have Fairtrade snacks like chocolate or cookies at meetings to create a more relaxed atmosphere and more content campaigners. Display pictures of Fairtrade events around the school and in newspapers as many people might not be aware that they go on!