It has been just over a year since the idea of a 2 week pop-up fair trade shop in Sheffield came to fruition and went on to become a year-long retail opportunity. With a team of regular volunteers, and others who helped out at the start, we managed to turn a dark, dirty, empty, cold previous off-license into a welcoming, bright, colourful (although still sometimes cold!) fair trade shop.

BEFORE

    

AFTER

      

After the fair trade shop on Division Street closed down a few years ago, there was a real need for this kind of shop - after all, Sheffield is a 'fair trade city'. Throughout the year we provided the local community in Broomhill, and the wider Sheffield community, with access to a range of fairly traded food, gifts and other products. It created opportunities for volunteers to get involved in a global project which supports people around the world through trade, learn new skills, share their skills with us and meet new people.

Running a shop has given Fair Grounds the opportunity to try something new and have a proper base where the stock didn’t need to be taken down and packed into boxes after 2 weeks! And it's given me the chance to do a lot more design work (shop signage, posters and photography), as well as window displays, managing volunteers and living with my sister for 8 months, as she moved to Sheffield to manage the shop. In the run up to Christmas we also hosted open evenings which were very successful with an opportunity for people to find out more about the products and to buy them. Nina also gave a few talks on Fair Trade and Fair Grounds at various places/events in the city.



We ended the year where we began it – in Fairtrade fornight, which is a great way of highlighting the issue to people, however it isn’t something we should only focus on for 2 weeks a year and having the opportunity to run a fair trade shop for a year meant we could provide people in Sheffield with an ethical choice in their city all year round, and this seemed to be appreciated. Running a shop is a full time vocation and Nina wasn’t able to do as much of the educational work as she wanted, or to focus on our wholesale sales of the products we import, which ultimately have a significant impact of the producers. Therefore we decided not to continue the shop as a Fair Grounds enterprise, to allow us to continue with our other work, but thankfully it is not the end of the fair trade shop in Sheffield.

Along with Fair Grounds, all those involved in the shop over the past year and of course our customers are delighted that the retail space is continuing as a fair trade shop under new management. A new not-for-profit company has been set up called 'Good Taste – the Sheffield fair trade shop' by 2 of the people who were involved last year volunteering and ordering the Created products which were sold in the shop. Jenny and Rob Coleman decided to take over the running of shop under the new name from March 2015. It has been Jenny's dream for many years to run a shop of this nature, so we are very pleased we have helped her along the way.

We are very thankful for ALL the help our volunteers have given us over the year, and to our customers for all your purchases, it’s been great getting to know you and we will miss you, but you will still see myself and Nina volunteering in the Good Taste shop from time to time and you will also still be able to purchase Fair Grounds’ products in the shop, alongside some lovely new things from other suppliers!

 

Author: Hannah