Welcome to the second in our latest blog series on Cities, Counties and Towns embracing Fairtrade cotton uniforms!
This is the story of an inspiring and growing connection between Koolskools and the City of Lancaster.
Moorside Primary Leads the Way
Lancaster is already a focus for Fairtrade campaigners all over the world. It is the relocated home of “The FIG Tree”, a Fair Trade shop and cafe that is the brain child of Bruce Crowther MBE. Bruce is a legendary Fairtrade campaigner who was instrumental in establishing the world’s first Fairtrade town, Garstang, in 2000.
But it is a much lower profile, and no less inspiring, Fairtrade campaigner that has been primarily responsible for the arrival and growth of Fairtrade school uniform in Lancaster: Mrs Janine McGregor.
Janine, a Year 6 teacher at Moorside Primary school, aided and abetted by her wonderful Fairtrade Group and her and her Year 6 teaching colleagues’ successive Year 6 classes, have had a major positive impact for our Fairtrade cotton farmers and factory workers.
The First Contact!
On 4 February 2015, Janine sent Andy at Koolskools an e-mail saying the following:
“I have recently been told about your Fairtrade cotton initiative in schools. I work at Moorside Primary School in Lancaster and we would love to get involved in this….
….Am I right in thinking that you would come in and do an assembly and that you also offer workshops?…We do have a supplier of school uniform but we would be willing to offer fair trade cotton uniforms as an alternative….”
The rest is history as they say! Soon after we received that e-mail, we visited Moorside during Fairtrade Fortnight 2015 to do some Fairtrade educational work, and the first Moorside Fairtrade uniform order began to take shape – Leavers’ hoodies for the 2016 school year.
Within the space of one year, Moorside had become a Fair Achiever School!!
As all of that was happening, unbeknown to Koolskools, Janine’s Year 6 class had written individual letters to over 50 neighbouring schools making the case for Fairtrade cotton school uniform as an ethical clothing choice for their school communities.
Moorside Primary and Koolskools Today
Fast-forward 3 years and we are working with several schools in the Lancaster area, including Dallas Rd Primary, Christchurch Primary and Lancaster Rd Primary. All of this largely thanks to Janine, her receptive Senior management team and colleagues – and of course Moorside students.
It’s catching! Dallas Rd Primary have also taken a leaf out of Janine and her students’ book, where their excellent ECO Group, under the tutelage of Mrs Sarah Hardwick, are also advocating within the school and beyond for Fairtrade uniform.
Moorside has not only become a beacon for Fairtrade advocacy in the Lancaster area, they have also shown that even where there is an established conventional local school uniform supplier, it is always possible to introduce Fairtrade clothing items.
Nowadays, it is not only Fairtrade Leavers’ hoodies that we do for Moorside, but we also supply Fairtrade school uniform as an ethical choice, also Fairtrade Staff hoodies – another initiative of Janine’s. We are also currently talking to the Moorside PE Department about sports hoodies. Where there is a will there’s a way!!
We have many Fairtrade-friendly teachers to be thankful to across the UK for embracing our project and lobbying for the introduction of Fairtrade uniform in their respective schools.
Janine McGregor is right up there with the very best!!
Quotes from the Moorside 2015/16 Year 6 students’ letters to neighbouring schools about Fairtrade clothing: