Back in 2005, Co-operative Party councillors took a motion to Ipswich Borough Council calling for the Council to pursue Fairtrade Town status for Ipswich. Despite Labour and Co-operative councillors being in opposition on the Council at the time, the motion was successful and led to a meeting involving co-operators, churches, Ipswich Fairtrade Shop and councillors which set up a steering group to push forward Fairtrade Town status.

During Fairtrade Fortnight in February 2008, Ipswich achieved its aim and became a Fairtrade Town.

Since then, and always with Co-op Party members on the steering group, we have held an annual fairtrade reception as well as organising speakers for schools and other organisations and a variety of initiatives to mark Fairtrade Fortnight. Co-op Councillor, Sandy Martin handing out fairtrade bananas, supplied by East of England Co-operative Society, to town centre shoppers, while dressed as a gorilla is particularly memorable. We’ve also organised events with a Kenyan tea grower and South African wine producer to promote fairtrade fortnight and purchased fairtrade footballs and donating one to every school in Ipswich.

Co-operative Party councillors, Sandy Martin (who moved the fairtrade motion in 2005) and John Cook, this year’s Ipswich Mayor are pictured alongside other steering group members promoting the range of goods in Ipswich Fairtrade Shop for Fairtrade Fortnight 2023.