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17 February 2006   2:14 PM

As a Gateshead resident, and someone who has been very much born and brought up in Gateshead, I was delighted to hear on BBC Radio Newcastle yesterday morning that Gateshead were going for fairtrade status.

Keen to find out exactly what was involved, I quickly found a news item on Gateshead Council's site entitled Gateshead Aims for Fairtrade status which pretty much explains it. Gateshead needs to achieve various goals, including making sure there are Fairtrade products readily available, the scheme is backed by the local council — which it obviously is — and that the council must attract popular support for the campaign.

Well, they've certainly got my support for it. I think it's a fantastic idea. I'm thoroughly behind the idea of Fairtrade, which basically says that what it's about is:

buying direct from farmers at better prices, helping to strengthen their organisations and marketing their produce directly through their own one world shops and catalogues, the charities offered consumers the opportunity to buy products which were bought on the basis of a fair trade.

The Mayor of Gateshead, Councillor Joe Mitchinson will be launching the scheme by presenting a certificate to Café Eight (just across from Gateshead Civic Centre) on a date to be later announced. Gateshead Council also plan to list local businesses who take part in the scheme in a Gateshead Fairtrade Directory, which will show where Fairtrade products can be bought.

I think this is all an absolutely fantastic idea, and for someone like myself with a passion for web accessibility, this ties in with what is basically the key concept — fairness. I would urge local residents and businesses to join publicly promote the scheme. Come on, let's make ourselves a Fairtrade Town.


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