Politicon Event held at John Hampden Grammar School, 15th February 2020

This well-populated and extremely well-organized event attracted over 17 stall/stand holders covering the areas of the environment, economics, politics and community issues.

One of the first people to approach the Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group information stall was a Ms.S.Neal, a senior teacher at JHGS responsible for business enterprise, economics, and RS. She stated that Fairtrade was now an element in the curricula for business enterprise and economics. She had some great ideas for expanding Fairtrade into the students’ summer projects as well as having a first Fairtrade Stall during Fairtrade Fortnight 2020. It was very reassuring and encouraging to hear that Fairtrade forms part of various subject curricula at many age group levels.

I have sent Ms Neal the email and contact details for Margaret Dykes, the local Traidcraft representative, to provide a range of Fairtrade products for either a forthcoming stall during Fairtrade Fortnight 2020 or during World Fair Trade Day/Week 2020. I also gave her a booklet from the Fairtrade Foundation about registering and achieving Fairtrade School status, reflecting there were no currently registered Fairtrade schools in the High Wycombe area. She also requested a copy of the recent Fairtrade Foundation pull-out brochure/poster – “The Story of Fairtrade Cocoa” for one of her younger age-group business enterprise and economics classes.

In addition to boys and their parents, girls were invited to attend the Politicon event from the nearby Wycombe High School. Three “clued-up” students spent some time talking to Jhon and myself and indicated there was a teacher at the school “very interested” about Fairtrade. One of them informed us of a new “ethical cafe” recently opened in the small business and artisan area opposite Aldi, in one of the former shipping containers called “Tones”. I will check this out next week. 

I think that this was the first time Wycombe Fairtrade have met and talked with a Secondary school/grammar school teacher who was very interested in the subject of Fairtrade and its off-shoots into sustainability, organic production, social solidarity economics, and small business practices. It was an amazing and remarkable contact after many years of previously fruitless efforts to find a potential champion teacher which certainly justified W4FT presence at this event. I am sure that she will be a very useful contact to develop over the year. Given her portfolio of subject responsibilities, I think that she will have a narrow window of opportunity to work with us during term time and develop JHGS Fairtrade inputs, but I have offered the Steering Group’s support and backing.

This meeting with Ms Neal could provide a springboard into developing exciting links and contacts with schools in Grecia specifically and in Costa Rica as a whole as well as providing places for future field courses in the subjects of:-
a) Business b) Enterprise c) Economics d) Language exchanges of students learning Spanish or English, and setting up Facebook communication for e-frindships.

Jhon was replaced by Sarah Moroz around 7.00 pm.

Thank you to Jhon and Sarah for giving up part of their evening in helping me to set up and dismantle the W4FT stall, which had many updated Fairtrade Foundation posters and leaflets, stickers, the Fairtrade Town banner, our new A1 poster, and material and products from Grecia and CoopeVictoria.Costa Rica. This education, community, and business enterprise aspect could form the basis of a reciprocal project in Grecia and CoopeVictoria in future.

A seed has certainly been sown, but these are early days, and the drivers here are the schools, interested and influential teachers, and the amount of time they can devote to this.

Mike King,
Chairman, Wycombe Fairtrade.

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