York has celebrated 20 years as a Fairtrade City.

As part of the anniversary, York Fair Trade Forum hosted an event at Mansion House on Thursday, and York Central MP Rachael Maskell tabled a motion in parliament to recognise the milestone.

Guests at the forum event included several members of the original group whose efforts were so crucial in achieving Fairtrade City status, among them York’s Lord Mayor Chris Cullwick, who opened the event.

He also awarded prizes to children from Cawood and Hempland primary schools who had won a competition to design posters celebrating the anniversary.


Moira and Charlie Bridges, who run the Fairer World shop on Gillygate, also received an award for their support to the campaign.

Talks about the history and purpose of fair trade locally and globally were given by Professor Bob Doherty (School for Business and Society at the University of York), Mark Dawson (Fairtrade Yorkshire) and Rachael Maskell MP.

Sarah Hazelhurst from the Fairtrade Foundation, which runs the Fairtrade City scheme, ended the evening by talking about the next generation of fair-trade supporters.

To earn the status of Fairtrade City, the group had to win the support of City of York Council, persuading it to serve Fairtrade coffee and tea at meetings and in its canteens, and to encourage York's shops and cafés to serve Fairtrade products.

As part of the process, York Fair Trade Forum - a group of volunteers plus a councillor- currently Cllr Tony Clarke (Labour-Guildhall) - was set up to promote the understanding of fair trade and its benefits.

The current Forum Chair Kathryn Tissiman, one of the founding group was incredibly proud York had kept its status for 20 years.

She said: “Fair trade is even more important now than it was then, especially when so many of the people who produce fair trade goods are threatened by the current climate emergency."

The Fairtrade scheme means producers are paid a guaranteed minimum price as well as an extra premium which they can spend to improve life for their communities, such as new schools or housing. They also get better working rights and conditions.

Kathryn added anyone can support fair trade by looking for its log on products like bananas, coffee, tea, chocolate and jewellery.

Ms Maskell said " With York being a Chocolate City, we recognise the important role that having high standards with farming of cocoa must have to ensure just trade and supply chain practices. We can all play our part by making positive consumer choices and buying Fairtrade when buying our groceries. The Fairtrade movement has now grown globally, raising standards and opportunities for those that labour for our food and drink.”

The Forum always welcomes new members. Email contact@fairtradeyork.org.uk for information.