New home for Fair Trade Shop in Ipswich
- Credit: Su Anderson
After 25 years the Fair Trade Shop, in Ipswich, has moved to a new home in town.
It has opened its doors at 20A Upper Brook Street (close to Wilkinsons and Sainsburys), and already welcoming new and existing customers.
Fair Trade is a concept that has become more popular in mainstream shops in recent years, offering some fairer traded goods.
But the Fair Trade Shop stocks 100% goods that are traceable all the way back to the makers, suppliers or farmers - and that they are fairly rewarded for their work.
It is a way of really making a difference to the lives of people trying to make a living in other, poorer parts of the world.
In the Ipswich shop there are food and drinks, toys and musical instruments, clothes, crafts, accessories amd much more.
Tea from South Africa, coffee from Mexico and Guatemala, chocolate from Ghana, olive oil from Palestine, beauty products from Kenya and musical instruments from Africa and Peru for example.
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Shop founders Margaret Fish and Anne Durnford are proud of what they have achieved so far.
“The shop helps workers and farmers around the world,” explained Anne, “It is mostly small co-operatives and some farmers.
“They are in South America and AFrica, Asia and India, all round the world.
“From Bangladesh to Zambia.
“They all get fairly rewarded.
“We started this 25 years ago, they were several of us selling Fair Trade goods and we decided to get together and open a shop.
“For five years we had a small shop, at the back of Christchurch in Tacket Street, but it was difficult for people to find us.
“We moved round the corner into Tacket Street itself.
Margaret said: “We did have five years rent free so we were able to build up a bit of capital. We were really successful early on.
“The town centre changed, with the recession, and employers like Suffolk County Council moving away from the town centre.
“So needed to find somewhere in a more prominent position, with more passing trade. It has been tough the past two or three years.
“We were delighted to find this shop. We are taking on a new shop and a new challenge.
“We hope to find new customers and keep our existing customers too.”
They are joined by part-time manager Linda Catchpool, who is also a director.
Anne support the aims of the shop.
She buys tea, coffee, jam, honey and rice for her own use at home.
“I also think a lot of the textiles are lovely, and the silver jewellery from Bali.”
Money from the sale of goods filters back to producers all round the world, from Nepal to Bangladesh, and India to Zambia.
Margaret added: “The children’s toys are lovely and all handmade. Some come from Sri Lanka.
“And we have a United Nations of children’s dolls and soft toys.”
This shop is mainly staffed by volunteers while Anne and Margaret order the goods.
When I called in they were stocking the shelves with coffee and tea, real chocolate and chocolate spread.
“The Christmas cards will be here next week,” added Margaret.
Anne added: “We are going to put a map up on the wall showing all the different countries the goods are coming from.”
I couldn’t leave the shop without buying something.
I bought a ceramic egg cup, with a lion, and a card for my new nephew - and some Pure Green Tea teabags for myself.
And with Christmas coming I liked the silver jewellery and the scarves, mainly from India.
I know some people who would like to find them under the Christmas tree.