Pupils from secondary schools across East Dunbartonshire gathered in Lenzie Academy today at a Celebratory Fairtrade Conference.
Jo Swinson opened the event with a speech praising the extensive activities of local school pupils to promote fair trade. The event was organised by the area’s Fairtrade Steering Group to thank pupils and school staff for the support they have given to the Group’s campaign to have East Dunbartonshire named as Scotland’s first ever Fairtrade Zone.
Jo said, “I was delighted to see such a strong turnout from schools across East Dunbartonshire in support of fair trade. The list of activities that school pupils have undertaken to promote fair trade locally is astonishing, from Turnbull High securing extended fair trade product ranges in their local supermarket to Colquhoun Park Primary’s Fairtrade Rap.
“I am positive that the future of local fair trade is safe in the hands of our young people.”
Council Leader, John Morrison, has been impressed by the commitment that local pupils have shown to raising awareness of the fairtrade message firstly among their parents and friends but more broadly, throughout their communities.
He said, “The East Dunbartonshire Steering Group may be leading the campaign to raise the profile of fairtrade but we cannot do it alone. We rely heavily on the churches, voluntary groups, local businesses and shoppers and of course, the young people in our schools.
“It bodes well for the future that the younger generation has taken the messages of fairtrade to heart and I’d like to publicly acknowledge their efforts and encourage them to keep up the good work.”
At the conference in Lenzie Academy, pupils were presented with certificates in recognition of the work they have done. Attendees heard a presentation from Oxfam’s John McAllion about how their efforts are making a difference to people in developing countries. They also heard from Fiona Sinclair from the One World Shop.
Free tasting sessions were also laid on by Greencity Wholefoods who are excellent supporters of East Dunbartonshire’s fairtrade campaign. Tesco and Scottish Midland Co-op Society Ltd kindly provided fairly traded chocolate and orange juice as a treat for the schools.
One very excited S1 pupil from Bearsden Academy had been looking forward to the event for some time and it didn’t fail to deliver.
He said, “I wanted to learn more about fairtrade because you see lots of posters and food in the supermarket but before today I didn’t really know what it meant.”
A member of Turnbull High School’s Fairtrade Group added, “As we have helped to promote fairtrade in our school, it was good to meet others who have done the same in their establishments.”