Thousands flock to Arundel’s Fairtrade fair

L44682H14''Arundel's Fairtrade Christmas Fair Arundel Castle Saturday Marie Hippeerson of Korsga African Food SUS-140311-115025001
L44682H14''Arundel's Fairtrade Christmas Fair Arundel Castle Saturday Marie Hippeerson of Korsga African Food SUS-140311-115025001
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ARUNDEL celebrated its tenth anniversary as a Fairtrade Town in style on Saturday (November 1).

More than 2,000 people visited the Arundel Fairtrade and Ethical Christmas Fair, in two marquees on the lower lawn of Arundel Castle and a range of smaller tents nearby.

Back after gap of two years, the fair was organised by Pip Young on behalf of the Arundel Fairtrade Group, which achieved Fairtrade Town status for Arundel in 2004, the first place in West Sussex to be awarded the accolade.

Customers were able to browse more than 60 stalls selling textiles, jewellery, food, gardening items and a wide range of other fairly-traded and ethical products.

But as well as offering an array of Christmas present ideas, the fair aimed to raise awareness of the Fairtrade movement and its goals of supporting producers working hard for their families and communities in the world’s poorer countries. Takings at the event will have a ripple effect, benefiting people far away from an autumnal day in Arundel.

“What is brilliant for us is that our stallholders sold stuff which means that the producers, individuals and co-operatives, can make more, and in the case of the co-operatives, there is a social premium on top of the money they get, which goes into health care and schools in those communities, or funds projects such as electricity generators,” said Pip.

“This is why we run the fair, for the people living in less wealthy conditions, generally speaking, than we are, who are trying their best to trade. They don’t want hand-outs or aid, but they do want to trade, yet the global trading system is anything but fair.

“As a group, we don’t set out to make money from the fair, as we are a not-for-profit organisation, our aim is for the stallholders to make money, because if they do, some of that goes back to the producers,” added Pip.

It was the first time the event had been held on the castle lawn, having previously been hosted inside the castle and before that at Arundel Town Hall. “Everyone had more space and the stalls were all together, rather than being spread out with some down corridors and in nooks and crannies inside the castle.

“I think it worked very well and the marquees looked great. From the feedback we have had from the stallholders, they were pleased, too, and some said they were astonished by the number of people attending.

“We are at the point now where people come to us asking for stalls and we don’t have to go chasing them. Cocoa Loco, which is quite a large chocolate producer and supplies Oxfam, was there, which was great. We really hope we will be back next year,” said Pip.

She thanked the Duke of Norfolk for allowing the use of the castle grounds, Ash Kent, of Tents n Events for the marquees, and all who supported the fair. Visitors during the day included the Duchess of Norfolk.