By Jessica Haworth
Keen shoppers gathered in Stockport on Saturday for this year’s Christmas fair trade market.
The event, held at Stockport College, attracted around 700 people and 30 fair traders from across the UK showcasing their ethically sourced goods.
Eric Jackson, of the Grass Roots group, has helped to organise the market for the past two years.
“This year is better than last year because we’ve had a lot more people this year coming off the street,” he said.
“We have this every year and it all goes well, as you can see we’ve rallied about 30 helpers here today.”
From candlesticks to finger puppets, the upstairs gym of the college was transformed into a treasure cove of stalls, with everyone looking for a hidden gem.
Silver Chilli, a company that works with Mexican silversmiths, travelled to the market to showcase their high-class, great quality jewellery.
They pay disadvantaged silversmiths a fair price in turn for their beautiful designs.
Jane Kellas, of Silver Chilli, said: “There’s such a massive support for fair trade in Stockport, it’s amazing.”
“We really, really like this event because there’s more artisanal stuff- it’s brilliant that the people of Stockport still host this event.”
There were plenty of presents to be scoped out as Stockport resident and bargain hunter Jo Parks discovered.
“I come every year to get Christmas presents because I go to craft fairs and I love places like this,” she said.
“There’s some pretty stuff and it’s nice to give people something a little bit different.”
Ethical coffee traders Oroma were present, who work with Ethiopian coffee farmers directly, returning a higher profit to them.
Tariku Jebesa, a representative for Oroma, said: “It’s my first year here and I love it, people love the product and I’ve met a lot of people who have an interest.
“People buy fair trade products obviously because they’re trying to help the farmers and also to get a quality product.”
The winning design of this year’s design-a-bag competition, ran by Stockport Fairtrade Group, was sold at the fair.
Prospect Vale Primary School pupil Alexandra Argyle picked up the first-place prize for her eye-catching design of a globe orbited by fair trade coffee, chocolate and fruit.
“This isn’t the first time Alex has been recognised for her art,” explained mum Angela.
“And she’s so passionate about fair trade. When we go to the shops she’s always making sure I buy the right sort of fruit and veg.”
The bags are now on sale for £2 each from Stockport Fairtrade Group at selected outlets, fairs and through [email protected].
For more information on fair trade products and events in Stockport visit www.stockport-fairtrade.org.uk
Photo credit: Jessica Haworth