THE Fairtrade Foundation has awarded Calne the status of a Fairtrade town.

The foundation made the announcement to Calne Community Area Fairtrade Group as of Thursday February 28 with formal paperwork to follow.

Stan Woods, chairman of the group said: “Having achieved Fairtrade Town Status we now has to work to build on, expand and keep it by continuing to raise Fairtrade’s profile to more and more organisations throughout the town and the surrounding parishes, including schools, retailers, caterers, businesses, the parish councils and societies and clubs.”

Calne Community Area Fairtrade Group has been promoting Fairtrade in Calne and the surrounding area for many years.

The Campaign to achieve Fairtrade Town Status intensified in January 2017, with a structured plan to meet the Fairtrade Foundation’s criteria for an initial award within two years.

A Fairtrade Town application supported by a large portfolio of evidence was submitted to the Fairtrade Foundation at the beginning of January this year.

This proved timely, as the group was about to mount its keynote Fairtrade Fortnight Event at Calne Library on the March 2, which was attended by the Mayor of Calne Cllr Glenis Ansell and Deputy Mayor Cllr Robert Merrick.

Calne Fairtrade's chairman Stan Woods said they had to achieve five goals before achieving Fairtrade status - which included getting support - moral and financial - from Calne Town Council and Wiltshire Council, recruiting a number of retail outlets and to sell Fairtrade, to get community organisations such as churches on board, to work with schools and to present a port folio of media coverage.

"We did some presentations to primary schools and an assembly at the John Bentley School, and we will do another one in May," Mr Woods said.

"When you have got Fairtrade status you have to keep it. You need an action plan to show you have made improvements in the first year - and then every two years.

"The whole point of having Fairtrade status is to get more people to buy Fairtrade products."

He said a list of local outlets supplying or serving Fairtrade goods - such as supermarkets, and the Lansdowne Strand, which serves Fairtrade tea and coffee - would be publicised on their website.

"We will be continuing to make an effort to get more outlets involved.

"It's a good thing for the town to be Fairtrade, another thing to add to the tourist information."

Mr Woods said they were delighted the hard work had paid off.

"We put a lot of effort into it. We hoped our application would be successful - but you can never be sure!"

This year is the 40th Anniversary of Traidcraft, a leading Fairtrade goods importer, wholesaler and retailer, in the UK, and the 25th Anniversary of the Fairtrade Foundation’s Fairtrade Mark.