One of the city’s hidden retail gems, the recently reopened Chester Fairtrade Shop (St John street) offers household items, food, quirky gifts and more. Buying Fairtrade goods is an “easy way for the average person to make a difference”.
As volunteer Heather Swainston explained ” Fairtrade means that producers, usually farmers or craft producers, are being paid a fair price for their goods. Due to world markets the price of goods fluctuate, a coffee famer will do the same amount of work but the price of coffee will change, affecting his income. Fairtrade marked goods mean that producers will be paid a Fair Trade premium so they can plan for any costs they have. It’s trying to challenge the unfairness of the trade system.” Globally there are over 1.7 million farmers and workers in 1,822 producer organisations across 72 countries participating in the Fairtrade system.
Over the years Chester has hosted 8 Fair Trade producers. Cheshire West was awarded “Fairtrade status” back in 2011 (due for renewal in 2023) and the steering group have held regular pop up events and activities to raise awareness of the Fairtrade principles. “We have been really lucky.” says Heather. “We have met Banana farmers from Panama, Costa Rican coffee farmers . A Cocoa farmer’s daughter from Ghana who had never been to school until the age of 14 when her parents joined a co-operative . You can see the difference that Fair Trade made to people’s lives. ” Goods bearing the the Fairtrade symbol must have adhered to strict rules protecting workers and the environment.
The Shop , inside the Wesley Centre offers a wide range of food items including chocolate, coffee, cereal, rice alongside craft and gift items, including a selection for father’s day. The team are hopeful that footfall will increase as the city centre steadily returns to life.
Shop volunteer Jackie Chatterton told me : “I love working at the Fair Trade Shop. I meet so many lovely people that come in and that buy our goods. The ladies that volunteer are just as nice, so do come along if you can!”
The Chester Fair Trade Shop is open Tues- Sat 11 til 2