Archive for the ‘WAFTAG’ category

A Date with Fair Trade, High Street Methodist Church

February 21st, 2015

To mark Fairtrade Fortnight this year the Witney Area Fair Trade Action Group is holding a special event with the focus on supporting producers of tea, cocoa and sugar in developing countries. We consume vast amounts of these items in Britain, and sometimes give little thought to the lives of those whose hard work enables us to do so.

“A date with Fair Trade” is just that – an opportunity to come and find out more about Fair Trade and how it helps to give producers a fair wage. There will be stalls where you can buy beautiful and delicious Fair Trade goods, a pop-up cafe serving soup and filled rolls and a tempting range of home-made cakes with tea and coffee, a film which will have several showings throughout the day and bring the message of Fair Trade to life, plus music, singing by the Songscope Choir and face-painting for the children.

So please come along to the High Street Methodist Church on Saturday, 28th February from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to join in the fun and give your support to a very worthwhile cause!

(Poster available here, if you’ve got a space to display it in!)

Cakes and campaigning at Fair Trade event

March 5th, 2014

Plate of Welsh cakesFair Trade Fortnight was launched in Witney by WAFTAG with cakes, campaigning and a choir. The Fair Trade event, held at the High Street Methodist Church on Saturday, proved very popular.

Local children’s choir Songscope opened proceedings with a selection of upbeat songs. There were stalls selling a range of Fairtrade goods and a cake stall groaning under the weight of home-made cakes. The most unusual feature was the smoothie bike, blending smoothies using pedal power!

The campaigning focus of the day was the problem of cheap bananas. Many supermarkets are using bananas as “loss leaders”, offering them below cost price as a way of attracting customers to buy other goods. The price war between supermarkets has seen the retail cost of bananas halve in recent years, while the actual cost of producing them has doubled. This means that many banana farmers are living in poverty. The Stick With Foncho campaign asks Vince Cable as Business Secretary to investigate the impact such low pricing is having on farmers’ lives. 50 people at Saturday’s event signed postcards asking Vince Cable to do just that.

The campaign also aims to raise awareness of the real costs of cheap bananas and encourage consumers to buy Fairtrade. (If you want to be sure of buying Fairtrade bananas, the best supermarkets are Waitrose, Sainsburys and the Co-op, since these three do not sell any non-Fairtrade bananas.)

The event made just under £300 for WAFTAG, which will be spent on Fairtrade projects. To get a flavour of the day, you can watch the video on Witney TV.

Fairtrade Fair

February 17th, 2014

On Saturday 1 March it’s time to celebrate all things Fairtrade, with an event organised by Witney Fairtrade Action Group (WAFTAG). Come to the High Street Methodist Church from 2pm to 4:30pm for Fairtrade smoothies (made with pedal power!), cream teas, a children’s choir and stalls selling an exciting selection of Fairtrade goods.

The event is part of Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from 24th February to 9th March. The theme of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight is bananas, which are currently sold so cheaply that the people who grow them are trapped in poverty. Colombian banana farmer Foncho will be coming to the UK to ask our government to investigate unfair supermarket pricing. Visit the website to find out more and sign a petition supporting Foncho.

Feel free to print the Fairtrade goes bananas poster and display it in your window!


Dedicated followers of Fairtrade

March 13th, 2013
Girl on catwalk with Fairtrade logo on dress

Photo credit: David Pearce

Gianni Versace eat your heart out! On Thursday 7th March we saw that there’s enough talent locally to rock the fashion world. Wendy from Witney Fairtrade Action Group (WAFTAG) introduced Witney’s first ever Fairtrade Fashion Show, the screen lifted to reveal a catwalk and we were off!

Over 150 people crammed into the auditorium at Abingdon and Witney College to see the students’ fashion creations, all made with Fairtrade materials. Students modelled their own and each other’s work. The theme of the show was “Protection” and we saw some seriously imaginative variations on that theme, from a military-inspired dress to an insect exoskeleton! My favourite was the chain-mail-inspired dress where the chain links were in the form of  leaves. Students of Art, Media, Make-up and Hair all worked together to create a knockout show.

Preparing for the event took months of hard work from WAFTAG and the college, but the result was well worth it.

We also got a reminder about why we were there: buying Fairtrade might mean a few more pence for an item at the checkout, but the difference is literally life-changing for the producers. The Fairtrade mark means that cotton producers don’t just get a fair price for their crop; they also get extra funds to plough back into their community. Before the show we saw a short film about a community in Mali, who have used their Fairtrade funding to build a maternity unit locally. Before the maternity centre was built, pregnant women had to walk miles to give birth at the nearest medical centre and would often suffer complications on the way.

Before the show’s finale we had the chance to enjoy refreshments (courtesy of the Co-op) and browse a range of Fairtrade stalls.

We rounded off the night with a personal message of support from Sir Steve Redgrave, an avid backer of Fairtrade who even has his own Fairtrade clothing line.

It is great that Fairtrade is so well recognised within Witney and that students from Abingdon and Witney College have been so creative in designing using Fairtrade cotton… The difference Fairtrade can create for schools, healthcare and employment is dramatic and truly life-changing. The small premium that we pay for Fairtrade goods in the UK converts to a huge difference in the lives of farmers in West Africa and India… Being involved with Fairtrade is something you should all be very proud of and please keep spreading the message.

Another Fairtrade First for Witney

February 27th, 2013

Next Thursday 7th March is the date for Witney’s first ever Fairtrade Fashion Show – ‘The Great Cotton Stitch-Up’ – at Witney College campus on Holloway Road (off Welch Way.)

Students from Abingdon & Witney College are designing, making and modelling their own creations from Fairtrade fabrics, supported by the Witney Area Fair Trade Action Group.

There will be delicious Fairtrade refreshments donated by the Co-op, a short film featuring Sir Steve Redgrave, stalls run by Oxfordshire companies selling Fairtrade clothes and jewellery etc., information and a raffle of Fairtrade cotton garments. Most importantly, the students will be strutting their stuff on the catwalk to music provided by fellow college students to help get the message across that we can all make good choices in the fabrics we buy, which will help cotton workers in the developing world.

So come along to the campus at 7 pm on Thursday 7th March and join in the fun!

Tickets are £5 (£3 for students) and will be available from mid-February from the College reception, Oxfam in Market Square in Witney, or online ( All proceeds will go to support Fairtrade projects.

Witney Fair Trade Market

March 9th, 2012


1,000th Fairtrade Town

June 1st, 2011

It’s Only Fair

April 3rd, 2011

Last year I signed a letter for a campaigner asking major tea manufacturers to make their products Fairtrade. That prompted me to take a look at the tea I drink, only to find there wasn’t a Fairtrade version being sold in Witney.

I wasn’t keen on moving to a different type of tea in bags, but luckily for me and the tea-pickers, the campaigning paid off and packets of Waitrose Darjeeling now sport the Fairtrade symbol.

Even more impressive has been the campaigning work of the local Fair Trade Action Group WAFTAG. For the past three years it’s never been clear exactly what it is about Fairtrade that would be unfair to Witney, and that in itself has made countering the objections an almost impossible task.

» Read more: It’s Only Fair

Fairtrade Fashion Show, Witney College

October 11th, 2010

Witney’s first ever Fairtrade Fashion Show at Witney College Campus, Holloway Road. Thursday 7th March, starting at 7pm.

Students from Abingdon & Witney College are designing, making and modelling their own creations from Fairtrade fabrics, supported by the Witney Area Fair Trade Action Group.

Tickets are £5 (£3 for students) and will be available from mid-February from the College reception, Oxfam in Market Square in Witney, or online.  All proceeds will go to support Fairtrade projects.