The Road King trundles across the Rapti Bridge, greasy axles turning, tassled wing mirrors catching the light. We’ve been behind him for twenty minutes now, trying to squeeze past as we make our way down the East West Highway towards our workshop, just outside Bardibas. It was just before 7am when we left Kathmandu, weaving up and out, over the lip of the valley, following the Trisuli river on its way down to the flatlands. With any luck we’ll make it to our destination before nightfall.
Since our last trip to Nepal things have moved on for Danusha. We’ve got a business plan in place (almost) and we’re just about ready to reveal our logo. We’ve also built relationships with shops and organisations like The Fair Traders Co-operative and we’re really grateful for such fantastic support. We like The FTC so much that we’re going to buy a share for Danusha as we believe in reciprocity.
The Danusha workshop is based at Lalgadh Hospital on Nepal’s south eastern plains which run along the Indian border. This beautiful area is largely undeveloped and a high proportion of the population live on or below the poverty line.
The project began in June 2008, in response to a need to provide training for women whose lives had been affected by leprosy. Though easily treatable, there’s still a lot of stigma associated with leprosy, so sufferers and their families may be ostracised and find it difficult to gain employment. We set up Danusha to address this issue and help make a positive difference.
Initially ten women received training in simple jewellery making. Since then they’ve received further training and now make jewellery for us to sell in the UK. They receive a fair wage and training in health and hygiene, basic literacy and personal development and receive good food and accommodation while they’re on site.
We love the fact that each piece of jewellery comes with a story which we’re able to share with our customers. Lots of people have commented that knowing something about the person who made their jewellery helps make it special, unlike something generic and mass produced from a chain store.
Recently we got one of our staff, Rekha, to tell us a little bit about her life. A beautiful young woman, Rekha is probably in her early twenties, though she doesn’t know her exact age. She lives with her husband, Sanjay, in a small village called Hariharpur in the area near Lalgadh. As well as working for Danusha, she and her husband run a snack stall at their local bazaar.
When Rekha was eight she burnt her left hand and foot, but worryingly didn’t feel any pain. She developed ulcers and went to a faith healer who couldn’t cure her. He referred her to Lalgadh Hospital where leprosy was diagnosed, though Rekah wasn’t told of this. Instead her father told her that she had a ‘big disease’ and needed to take medicine. After treatment it was Rekha’s stepmother who told her she had leprosy and that no one would want to marry her. Her stepmother refused to give Rekha food and was very unkind to her.
Counsellors at Lalgadh Hospital gave lots of support and encouragement and slowly the family situation improved. Rekha attended regular sessions at the hospital, and in 2009 she met and fell in love with Sanjay there. He was also receiving treatment for leprosy.
Rekha joined Danusha in 2010 and has really grown in confidence since then. She’s very creative, shows a lot of initiative and we’re delighted that she’s part of our project. Sanjay also works for Danusha and it’s lovely to see this couple so happy and content.
Rekha enjoys her work at Danusha. Her economic condition has improved, she’s saving money and can also make her own necklaces to sell on her snack stall.
With the support of organisations like The Fair Traders Co-operative we’re gradually developing a regular customer base here in the UK, enabling more people to own and enjoy Danusha jewellery and to help people like Rekha in the process.
Danusha jewellery is available online from The Fair Traders Co-operative
As far as festivals go, The Fair Traders Cooperative’s ‘Family Fairtrade Festival’ has it all. It is the ultimate destination for families seeking fun and adventure within an ethical setting, with more child-friendly activities than you can shake a stick at!
The Family Fairtrade Festival is an annual festival supported by The Fair Traders Cooperative. It is held in Holmfirth, and offers a range of family activities centred around an ethical theme, all packed into three fantastic hours of fun, frolicking and, of course, FAIRTRADE! The festival is timed each year to mark International Youth Day, and provides a day of ethical entertainment for our local young people and visitors alike.
The festival this year kicked off with a carnival of delights including music of the folk variety, accompanied by a female giant named Maximum, located in the Upper Bridge Quarter Gardens opposite The Fair Traders Cooperative, – this certainly grabbed the attention of passers by!
Held on Saturday 13th August, festival goers were treated to a host of activities. Children and grown ups alike were seen singing and jigging, juggling and poi-spinning, colouring and gluing! Circus tricks specialist David Steedman shared his love of the circus with festival goers, as he taught them how to juggle, swing poi and to use the diabolo. He also demonstrated his skills with such instruments, as crowds watched in awe at his ability to make circus skills look not only fun, but very easy to learn.
Families were invited to make their own paper windmill. These were very colourfully decorated, many with an eco-friendly and green theme. Whilst crafting, children were encouraged to think about wind energy as a resource, as they discussed what wind is, how it is made, and how it can be converted into electricity.
Little girls and boys waited patiently in line to have their faces painted, whilst brothers and sisters tried their hand at welly wanging. Helen Robinson, who came along with her family said, “I’m looking forward to the Family Fairtrade Festival of 2012 already. Welly wanging will be in the Olympics, just you wait and see.” The welly wanging was a very successful feature at this years festival, of which Madeleine Orme was the triumphant winner, her prize being an invitation for her and a friend to come along to a Fairtrade Fun on Fridays craft session, held in The Fair Traders Cooperative community room throughout the summer holidays.
Meanwhile, many children built and decorated one of the Paper Pod cardboard play-dens, sold at The Fair Traders Cooperative, with colourful and elaborate designs, both inside and out. Whilst sipping on a cup of Fairtrade tea, Rebekka Bojanowski one of the festival’s organisers, exclaimed, “The festival has been a big success! Bigger and better next year!!”Find out about other events at The Fair Traders Co-operative by checking the events calendar.
Many of us here in Britain rely on that first cup of tea in the morning to wake us up and get us going for the day. And it’s a good job that we do, because in other areas of the world, reliance on tea is far more fundamental than that: as many as twenty million people in the developing world are dependent on tea for their very survival. In India, for example, tea is the second largest employer, and ten percent of Kenya’s population works in the tea trade. It is for this reason that tea is a vital element in the fight against poverty. Despite the huge popularity of tea in wealthy nations, small scale tea farmers and workers in the tea industry benefit little from the money spent when you buy your average brew. Buying fairly traded tea is one way that we can all make a difference and improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people around the world. With this in mind, The Fair Traders Co-operative now stocks a range of ‘everyday’ Traidcraft teas to complement the selection of flavoured green and white Qi teas already available in its shop and online store. Choosing a Fairtrade tea such as those stocked by The Fair Traders Co-operative ensures that the farmer receives a fair price for the tea. And what’s more, it means that workers rights and environmental needs are respected in the production of the tea. Producing tea is a labour intensive process, and workers and small scale producers in the tea sector can work very long hours, suffer back problems due to the bending and lifting involved and are exposed to pesticides and other agro-chemicals that cause ill-health. Workers on the large plantations, or tea estates, can be powerless to change their circumstances as they can be totally dependent on the estates for everything from wages and healthcare through to schooling and sanitation, leaving them with little control over their lives. And, of the many players in the tea supply chain, the small scale farmers and labourers earn a tiny proportion – as little as 1% – of the final retail price of the tea, whilst also carrying the greatest burden of risk when market prices fluctuate. The length and complexity of the tea supply chain means that farmers and tea workers have little relationship to buyers, and often have little choice about who they sell to or what price they get for their produce. The Fairtrade Foundation reports that there is very limited competition in the tea supply chain, with seven companies controlling 85% of tea production through their own factories and estates. Retail sales are also highly concentrated: the top three packers control 60% of the tea market in the UK. This concentration and control by a few western companies is reflected in the breakdown of who accrues the largest share of the value chain: • Around 40% of the retail price of tea accrues to the tea traders and manufacturers, and a further 40% goes to the processors/blenders, packagers and retailers, based mainly in rich countries. • In tea-producing countries, around 15% of the retail price goes to the plantation and factory, and less than 1% to the auction broker. • The plantation worker is likely to earn 1% or less. So whilst lacking power in the supply chain and receiving a very small proportion of the price of tea, small scale tea growers have to cope with the reality of increasing costs, such as for fuel, labour and fertiliser. Inflation has caused the price of living to go up, and yet tea producers have not benefited from increases in the nominal price of tea, receiving in fact only about half of what they did 30 years ago. And climate change is adding to their difficulties by causing unpredictable harvests, with recent droughts affecting crop outputs in many tea producing areas of the world. So, buying Fairtrade tea really can make all the difference. Fairtrade standards act as a safety net against the unpredictable market, providing a minimum price that aims to cover the costs of sustainable production, as well as a Fairtrade premium for investment in social, economic and environmental improvements, and providing credit if needed. The Fairtrade environmental standards require environmental protection, restrict the use of agrochemicals and encourage sustainable farming and processing methods. But perhaps the most crucial element of the Fairtrade standard is that the tea workers on plantations and the smallholder members of the producer organisations are able to take more control over their own future. Small scale farmers are organised into associations and must manage the Fairtrade premium democratically, reinvesting it according to priorities identified by the farmers themselves. This can include improving the services of their own organisation, improving quality control, or investing in social or environmental projects to benefit the whole community. The Fair Traders Co-operative stocks a variety of teas, including Everyday Tea, Everyday Decaffeinated Tea, African Gold Tea and Everyday Green Tea by Traidcraft and a range of flavoured green and white teas by Qi. Click here to browse and buy these high quality teas that really do ensure better livelihoods for vulnerable people.
Customers, members and staff were partying around the piano at the Fair Traders Co-operative on Sunday 12th June to celebrate our first birthday. And that was following a day of piano-playing fun on Saturday 11th to kick-start the Holmfirth Street Pianos project as part of Holmfirth Arts Festival.
If you’re local to Holmfirth, the chances are you’ve heard the strains of piano music drifting around the town during the Arts Festival. Holmfirth Street Pianos is a collaboration between Holmfirth Arts Festival and The Fair Traders Co-operative, which set out to see what would happen when five pianos were left on the streets of the town for anyone to play. The results have been amazing, with many an inspired performance by locals and visitors alike.
And to launch the event at the start of the Arts Festival there was a party around each piano. Free fair trade cake was given out at the party piano outside The Fair Traders Co-operative and children crowded to get involved in the circus skills and balloon modelling provided by Crafty Devilz at the banana piano at Norridge Bottom. Piano music filled the air, and there was even singing; the men on the scaffolding at Holy Trinity Church joined in beautifully with the sounds of the cotton piano outside Sid’s Cafe.
There was more fair trade cake to be had the next day, when The Fair Traders Co-operative celebrated their first birthday. The shop first opened its doors in June 2010, and to commemorate a year of making a difference to workers and their communities in some of the most disadvantaged countries in the world, The Fair Traders Co-operative invited suppliers, members, customers and visitors to a party at the shop. There was piano music, a performance by members of local jazz band New Orleans Wiggle, and a party-hat-making workshop for children.
To complement Holmfirth Arts Festival, a live window display saw local children and volunteers from the shop sipping tea, dancing and sharing fair trade cake. And as a really special birthday treat, Zimbabwe-born X Factor star, Beatrice Masvingise, sang a beautiful and moving song for us in her native language and cut the fair trade birthday cake. If you missed the party, you can see video footage and photos on our Facebook page.
The Fair Traders Co-operative wishes to thank all our members, customers, volunteers, staff, suppliers and supporters who have helped to make our first year successful. By continuing to buy ethically sourced products and supporting non-profit making fair trade ventures such as The Fair Traders Co-operative, each of us can make a positive difference to the people and communities who produce the items we purchase and consume each day. Click here to access our online store.
Holmfirth’s reputation as a cultural centre has been growing over the years, and with good reason. The town is home to a thriving artistic community and puts on a full calendar of festivals showcasing local artistic and musical talent.
The Fair Traders Co-operative is proud to support these events and to sell the work of local artists in its Huddersfield Road shop. A fringe venue for Holmfirth Art Week 2011, the shop will house three exhibitions by artists with links to the Holme Valley. The artwork on display will also fit with the shop’s ethos of sustainability, by being made from recycled materials.
Promoting environmental protection and sustainable development is a core element of the way that The Fair Traders Co-operative does business. Products sold through the shop and its online store undergo a unique sustainability assessment process, which involves finding out as much as possible about the impact of each product on the environment, on people and on the economy. This information is then made available for customers alongside a simple sustainability star rating that is presented on labels displayed with the products.
“We want our customers to be able to make informed choices when choosing between different products, and to know that a purchase here improves livelihoods and helps the environment,” said Helen Robinson of The Fair Traders Co-operative. “Another way we promote sustainability is by selling goods that have been produced locally and by supporting local events such as Art Week.”
Holmfirth Art Week’s main exhibition in the Civic Hall this year runs from 3rd to 9th July. Proceeds from the event will go, as in previous years, to MacMillan Cancer Support. For the duration of Art Week, The Fair Traders Co-operative will house eco-friendly collections by Tanya Palmer, Sophie Bebb and Maike Browning to include textile art, collage and recycled silver jewellery.
Tanya Palmer, a Holmfirth-based artisan and textile artist, last year won Holmfirth Art Week’s Florence Parker Memorial prize for Best Newcomer for her exhibit ‘South Lane, Holmfirth’. Some of Tanya’s craft products, such as beautiful tea- and coffee-cosies, brooches and bags are already on sale in The Fair Traders Co-operative shop and in its online store. Like these products, Tanya’s artwork utilises vintage and recycled textiles. “My textile art work is created using a mixture of appliqué and free-motion embroidery – which is me ‘drawing’ with my sewing machine,” said Tanya. “I also like to use splashes of colour, often with vintage fabric.”
Meltham artist Sophie Bebb’s collection of collage utilises recycled images from newspapers and magazines alongside
snippets of text on recycled newsprint that challenge the viewer’s concepts and assumptions. The result is art works that are sharp and pithy, whilst being accessible to a wide audience. “I believe strongly that we all need to take responsibility for our impact on people and on the environment, which is why I use recycled materials in my work,” said Sophie. “Exhibiting at The Fair Traders Co-operative is wonderful for me, because its aims and ethos fit closely with my own.”
Also exhibiting will be Maike Browning, who grew up in the Holme Valley and designs and makes contemporary silver jewellery. Drawing inspiration from her travels in India, her tactile, delicate jewellery is both beautiful to look at and a pleasure to wear. “I work intuitively with precious and non-precious materials, adding flickers of colour using precious stones and coloured threads,” said Maike. “I am happy to say that this collection is made almost entirely with recycled silver and all the jewellery is packaged in recycled boxes.” Using recycled silver improves both the environmental and ethical impact of the jewellery as the mining of silver, along with other metals, is considered to be very damaging to the environment and often lacking in human rights and labour regulations.
Sophie and Maike should both feel at home exhibiting at The Fair Traders Co-operative. Following completion of a degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing at the Edinburgh College of Art, Maike worked in The Fair Traders Co-operative shop until her move back to Edinburgh earlier this year to pursue a career as a jeweller. She also runs occasional silver jewellery workshops for beginners in the Community Room. A graduate in Fine Art Skills and Practice from Central St Martin’s in London, Sophie works part time at The Fair Traders Co-operative, leaving her time to develop her art portfolio… as well as offering many volunteer hours to The Fair Traders Cooperative to help with our events programme.
There will be a preview evening at The Fair Traders Co-operative on Friday 1st July at 7.30pm. Please come along, share some wine and be among the first to view the exhibition.
If you like a good party, support fair trade or just enjoy piano music and cake, then you won’t want to miss The Fair Traders Co-operative’s first birthday party celebrations. These will be taking place as just one of the wide variety of fantastic events planned for Holmfirth Arts Festival’s Street Pianos project. Do come along and join in!
Holmfirth Street Pianos is an absolute must see event, running throughout the Arts Festival from 11th – 26th June 2011. (Check out our link in support or the project.)In fact it’s not just about ‘seeing’, it’s about listening, discovering and getting involved. For the duration of the Arts Festival, five upright pianos will be placed around the streets of Holmfirth for anyone to play. As well as impromptu performances by the passing public, there will be organised events around each piano, from teddy bears’ picnics for tots, to pensioners playing the golden oldies; and from rock dads, to partying fair traders!
Each piano will be ‘themed’ to draw attention to the benefits of fair trade and sustainable living, and plenty of information will be available for people to find out more about the issues behind the themes. The ‘cotton piano’ will be decorated with vintage cotton patches and will be used to highlight the way conventional trade leaves millions of cotton farmers in poverty around the world. The ‘banana piano’ – and accompanying gorilla – will be difficult to miss, and will draw attention to the plight of struggling banana farmers. The ‘coffee piano’ will emphasize the scale of child labour involved in conventional coffee production and the ‘recycle piano’ may look like a pile of old junk, but will aim to make people think about the impact of our ‘disposable’ lifestyles.
And of course, the ‘party piano’, to be placed outside The Fair Traders Co-operative, will be festooned with balloons and bunting and will be the hub of the party – with plenty of fair trade cake and local beer available for those who like to indulge while they celebrate!
The Fair Traders Co-operative started trading a year ago as a result of investments from individuals, community groups, businesses and other co-operatives both locally and from further afield (our most distant investors are from a fair-trade banana farming community in the Caribbean). We sell fairly traded, ethical and sustainable products from the local area and producer groups across the world. The business now has nearly 500 members, an online store has been launched, and there is an ongoing programme of workshops and events held in the shop’s stone vaulted Community Room.
The focus of the birthday celebrations will be on Sunday 12th June; exactly one year after The Fair Traders Co-operative first opened its doors to the public. The party will be in full swing from 1pm to 4pm, complete with street entertainers, presents and music from local jazz band New Orleans Wiggle. And to tie in with the celebrations and with Holmfirth Arts Festival, there will also be a unique ‘living window display’ on 12th June in The Fair Traders Co-operative’s large window on Huddersfield Road.
Holmfirth Street Pianos is a partnership event between Holmfirth Arts Festival 2011 and The Fair Traders Co-operative. If you are interested in getting involved there are weekend workshops dedicated to decorating the pianos and generating interest, commitment and enthusiasm. Or else just come along and give us a tune during the festival fortnight. Find out more on our events calendar or on the Holmfirth Street Pianos facebook page
The school holidays are looming again, and with the Easter break seeming so recent, parents may feel stuck for ideas for keeping little hands and minds busy during the coming week. That’s where The Fair Traders Co-operative can help!
Throughout the half term holiday there will be fun workshops running twice a day in the Community Room in The Fair Traders Co-operative shop. Children of all ages are invited to come along (accompanied by an adult) and make their own holiday scrapbook for recording memories of their summer holidays and storing photos and other souvenirs. Children will be guided through the process of making a scrapbook from recycled and fair trade materials and all the crafty bits and bobs needed will be supplied.
The workshops, which are sponsored by Holmfirth Colour Print, will begin at 11am and 2pm each day between Monday 30th May and Sunday 5th June (except Thursday 2nd June) at a cost of £2 per child. Parents could use this as the perfect opportunity to take some time for themselves and browse the wide range of ethically traded products available in the shop (view our product range in our online store), or to simply relax in the Community Room with a cup of fair trade coffee or tea. Booking is recommended, so please visit the store or book online to ensure your child’s place.
If you can’t make it to the workshops, your children can still enjoy making a scrapbook for saving holiday memories using a fair trade ‘My Holiday Scrapbook Kit’ available from The Fair Traders Co-operative. Made in India using environmentally friendly materials, these kits contain an 8” by 8”handmade paper album along with over 350 other pieces and embellishments, including image frames, coloured letters, stickers, ribbons and sequins. Just open the packet and let your child’s imagination run wild!
A range of other craft kits for children is also available in the shop and online, including a wind chime kit, a make your own fairy kit, mask and puppet kits, a make your own spaceship kit and origami and necklace packs. And as with all of our products, buying these craft kits will really make a difference to the lives of people in the developing world. The kits are all supplied by The India Shop, which works to provide sustainable employment for disadvantaged producers in India. It is a member of the British Association of Fair Trade Shops and of the World Fair Trade Organisation, providing much needed employment, particularly in rural areas. Trading with family firms and co-operatives, The India Shop hopes for long term working relationships and continuous employment for its craftsmen, who are treated with respect, given good working conditions and paid a fair wage.
You can link to the crafts and stationary section of our online store here
The Fair Traders Co-operative is working closely with local partners to support a group of young Kenyan farmers who are visiting the UK at the end of May. Huddersfield based Young Ethical Pioneers have organised the visit to provide opportunities for the farmers to learn about fair trading, ethical supply chains and to set up a direct trading link between Yorkshire and Kenyan youth. The young people are from Nyeri in central Kenya, where they work as coffee, dairy and tomato farmers on small family-owned farms. They are coming to the UK to learn about how their raw crops are turned into marketable produce, and how they can organise youths in Kenya to set up trading links with the youth enterprise groups in Yorkshire. The Fair Traders Co-operative will facilitate a day of training where the young people will explore business ideas around new products. Alongside the visit The Fair Traders Co-operative will be focusing on the varied range of Kenyan products already on offer in the Holmfirth shop and online, all of which are supplied by small artisans and manufacturers and support the very kinds of communities which the Kenyan farmers represent. As well as partnering with The Fair Traders Co-operative, the Young Ethical Pioneers are working with The Co-operative College and Bolling Coffee to organise a week of events and learning workshops for their guests. The events and the visit are part of the Global Community Linking programme which provides funding to groups to establish direct community to community links and raise awareness of global development issues in their communities.
The Young Ethical Pioneers (YEPs) formed in 2009 through a youth enterprise programme called ‘Not Just Us’ set up by local charity the Lorna Young Foundation. The aim of the programme is to teach young people who wouldn’t normally get the chance all about international development and fair trading. The programme provides training in all aspects of running a social enterprise and supports groups to set up and run their own ethical trading enterprises. So far the LYF has set up groups in Huddersfield, Leeds and Doncaster. The YEPs are currently working on developing a product range researched and designed themselves, ensuring that the supply chain and the people involved have not been exploited in the process of bringing the product to market. The link with Kenyan youth is an important element in their learning as not only will they be able to work directly with producers of the raw materials, but they will hear first hand some of the struggles faced by their peers in developing countries and be able to help directly by ensuring the profits from the produce are shared with the producers. The visit to Huddersfield is a chance for the Kenyan youth to learn about how fair trade business works, about UK markets, and to see how value is added to their produce once it leaves the farm. And when they return to Kenya they will be passing on their knowledge to other young people with the aim of getting more young people involved in farming. The challenge is for youth to see farming as a viable business; one problem being that young people do not want to take farms over from their parents who struggle to make a living. LYF’s work in developing countries seeks to address some of the problems facing farmers by training smallholders to understand markets and supply chains and enable them to get more value from their produce and improve their lives. In addition to the workshop that The Fair Traders Co-operative will be running, Bolling Coffee, a local coffee roaster, will host the YEPs and the Kenyans for an afternoon so that the young coffee farmers can see exactly what happens to coffee beans once they are exported; how value is added and how the coffee is processed, packaged, branded and sold to consumers. The Co-operative group, who sponsored one of the young farmers, will take the group to one of the Co-operative group’s farms to see how produce is processed from farm to fork, and to a co-operative store to learn about ethical sourcing and branding. The YEPs are planning to end the week with a finale event in Huddersfield town centre, where their Kenyan guests can take part in some real ethical trading in Huddersfield’s outdoor market. The YEPs are hoping that one outcome of their link with Kenyan farmers will be to persuade people in Huddersfield the value of ethical purchasing. To welcome our Kenyan guests to The Fair Traders Cooperative we are showcasing just some of the amazingly varied products we are currently stocking that have been made in Kenya.
Our Supplier Needs You! This was the plea that we received back in March from one of our close partners and suppliers. One of his producers in India had just completed a very large order for an American customer, an order which took every inch of space in the workshop and had taken months to prepare, every piece handcrafted by a small team of workers. It was at this point they received the shocking news that the order had been cancelled, a devastating blow after huge investments in labour, financially, and in terms of the business’s long term future.
One of the key aims of The Fair Traders Co-operative is to support suppliers working in disadvantaged communities and this sort of plea was one to which we were happy to respond. Not least, because the products themselves are amazing, unusual and score fantastically in our Sustainability Assessment. So let us introduce you to this brand new range – planters and hanging baskets created almost entirely from reclaimed sweet wrappers. Each glistening wrapper is hand twisted into a cord which is surprisingly strong, extraordinarily colourful and versatile enough to form around a wire basket to create stunning hanging baskets, plant pots and even bird houses.
The manufacturer is Noah’s Ark, a World Fair Trade Organisation Member, based in Moradabad. Noah’s Ark has a long history of supporting the community where the factory is based. They have already started three new schools locally, giving the opportunity for 350 children to go to school for the first time. The products, which they produce for export, create jobs for 150 artisans.
The Fair Traders Co-operative seems to throng with keen gardeners, so we hope that these latest products will be gracing many member’s gardens over the summer; indeed we would love to see some photographs of planters and baskets overflowing with flowers which we can share with Noah’s Ark and their workers. So… let’s get planting!
Holmfirth Festival of Folk has been running since 2005 and has grown into an extremely popular community based festival, which attracts a large number of locals as well as ‘folkies’ from further afield. The folk events took place between 6th and 8th of May, in the local pubs and on the streets and for the first time, at The Fair Traders Cooperative!
This year The Fair Traders Cooperative hosted a medley of events, kicking off with Little Folk. Run by Roz Walker and supported by Barnaby’s Day Nursery, Little Folk saw babies and toddlers bouncing, clapping and shaking to all of the songs featured in the session. During the course of the workshop the pre-school children were encouraged to join in with singing songs involving actions and also to play a few basic instruments, whilst parents sat back and watched, with a cup of Fairtrade coffee in hand. Songs included popular nursery rhymes and traditional children’s songs, which could be heard floating up from The Fair Traders Cooperative community room all Saturday Morning. Guests departed from the workshop merry and well prepared for more folk action in the weekend ahead.
Shortly after, a new wave of children were seen bustling through The Fair Traders Cooperative, eager to attend Noisy Folk. This workshop involved a lot of music making mayhem, as children of all ages joined in with this exciting workshop creating their own unique musical instruments out of junk! The Fair Traders Cooperative regularly hosts junk modelling workshops using recycled materials collected in the downstairs community room, but Noisy Folk, aimed at making instruments which produce plenty of noise, was by far the most popular and productive! The community room was packed out with wannabe musicians creating masterpieces out of mess: recycling at its very best! A repeat performance was seen on the Sunday afternoon, producing the noisiest of home-made instruments which were used during a variety of musical numbers performed at the end of Sundays workshop for parents and staff. Visitors at The Fair Traders Cooperative experienced trombones, guitars, shakers, cymbals and of course drums, to mention just a few!
The Fair Traders Cooperative is all about co-operation, and so to get in to the ‘folkie’ spirit all throughout the Festival of Folk weekend, The Fair Traders Cooperative could be seen collaborating with the Holme Valley Fairtrade Support Group and Barnsley Samba Band, Ritmo Unido in “Drumming up Support for Fairtrade”. Dancing, music and Samba drums from Ritmo Unido took place in the Queens Park, opposite The Fair Traders Cooperative throughout the weekend. Audiences were treated to exciting samba rhythms and were encouraged to join in clapping and dancing along to the addictive beat, which could be heard streets away! Crowds were drawn to the hammering sound of those samba drums, unable to keep their feet from tapping along to the beat!
All of the exciting events held at The Fair Traders Cooperative over the weekend were deemed a success, so here’s to many more events in collaboration with Holmfirth Festival of Folk, we look forward to even more next year!