Put people over profit says Derbyshire fairtrade campaigners

Martin and Frances Turner in their new shop That Fair Trade Shop.
Martin and Frances Turner in their new shop That Fair Trade Shop.

“It is about time that we all start putting the needs of people and our planet before profit,” says Martin Turner.

Martin and wife Frances are trying to raise awareness of Fairtrade, so much so that they have opened a shop in Ripley, selling only goods created in safe and legal conditions.

The entrepreneurial duo opened That Fair Trade Shop at 8 Church Street in the town, after seeing a gap in the market for a shop which offers products to shoppers, while helping alleviate poverty in developing countries.

Martin and Frances, both passionate about the cause and hoping to promote better working conditions and sustainability, took on the challenge after moving to Ripley around a year ago.

Martin said: “After moving to Ripley we realised there was a gap in the market in the town and surrounding area for a dedicated fair trade shop.

“We also wanted to give people a greater opportunity to buy products that are fairly traded and affordable. The idea became a reality when the shop premises became available right opposite our church, at an affordable rent.

“Our reason for being is to help alleviate poverty in developing countries through trade justice. This is a new type of shop for Ripley and we want people to embrace it and hopefully it will provoke them into wanting to learn about safe trading.”

The shop, has been running for nearly three months, after being officially declared open on October 29.

Martin continued: “From the outset, we wanted this to be more than just a shop, but a place where people can come, talk and find out more.

“We sell beautiful and unique handicrafts and top quality foods, made by happy producers because they are paid fairly and looked after. Our aim is to sell as much as we can because unless people buy the goods, these producers cannot trade themselves out of poverty.

“We hope people pop down, have a look around and become part of bringing about a fairer, better and just world.”

The shop, which is open Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am to 5pm, sell a wide range of fairly traded foods and handmade items from Africa, Asia and South America.

“We realise it’s a slightly unusual shop, but that also means it is unique and has something special to offer to Ripley folk, and also the surrounding areas. “We sell pasta, rice, fruit juice, ground coffee, chocolate and much more. We try to offer as much as possible for our customers.

“Every little helps and makes a difference. We need to unite to fight poverty for people to be paid and treated fairly. Many children are exploited, forced to climb trees to pick the cocoa beans which produce the chocolate so many of us readily eat.

Environmentally friendly products are also now being sold and an initiative to recycle bottles is in place.

The duo welcome customers to return with hand wash, multi-surface cleaner, shampoo and washing up liquid bottles, which they will replace for cheaper than the product price.

Martin added: “We’re trying everything to draw people in and help share the message. The people of Ripley spent time in our shop over Christmas and we hope that they will continue to visit us and help raise awareness.”

The shop will also be taking part in Fairtrade week. A national event, starting on February 29, that sees organisations up and down the country show support for the cause. Many will be hosting breakfast events with all produce fresh and free from slave labour.

To find out more visit www.fairtrade.org.uk.