About Fair Grounds

Fair Grounds is a Fair Trade Social Enterprise based in West Yorkshire promoting ethical consumer choice. We sell beautiful handmade, recycled, ethical products from all around the world. When you purchase from us, as well as giving a fair wage to individuals, families and cooperatives throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and Central America, you are also supporting the awareness raising education work of Fair Grounds in Yorkshire and the UK. 

 

Fair Grounds exists in order to:

• enable people to make informed ethical lifestyle and consumer choices, through educational activities and purchasing opportunities.

• encourage young people to become advocates of ethical consumerism.

• source and import ethical products from small producers around the world.

• sell ethical products as a wholesaler and retailer.

• link communities through a common interest in Trade Justice.

 

Meet Our Directors

 Steph NEVILLE  |  Matt NEVILLE  |  Nina CARTER-BROWN  

 

Nina Carter-Brown (founder and project manager) currently works full-time for Fair Grounds and is very passionate about raising awareness of global issues of injustice, particularly with young people in the Bradford area. 

She decided to set up Fair Grounds Social Enterprise after graduating from the University of Bradford in 2005 with a degree in Development and Peace Studies. You will almost certainly see her at various festivals and events throughout the year on the Fair Grounds stall! As well as this she works with schools in Bradford and other places on issues including and related to Fair Trade. She is also a member of the Fairtrade Bradford group, promoting Fairtrade in the Bradford district particularly during the national FT Fortnight in February/March.

“When I set up Fair Grounds in 2006, it was to support producers, paying people a fair wage and treating them with respect, valuing their skills and labour. I didn’t see big shops and supermarkets doing this, in fact it often seemed to be the opposite, that they were taking advantage of people living in poverty and paying them amounts that would just keep them there. I wanted to try and do something about it, something small, but still something which is of benefit to producers as well as their families and wider communities.

Fair Grounds is not a charity, it is a Social Enterprise with the legal structure of a limited company. This decision was made because I wanted to prove that business can be done in an ethical way, with no one being exploited anywhere in the process. This is not easy, but it is a very enjoyable challenge and one that I’m glad to be part of every day. We adhere to the Fair Trade principle of paying 50% of the agreed fair cost when we place the order, and the remaining 50% plus the import and shipping costs when we receive the order. We also work with the producers over time to increase sales and therefore generating more income and a long-term guarantee of partnership. Where possible we link with community development projects - for example a school we worked with in Bradford raised money for basketball equipment at the school connected to the embroidery tribal craft initiative we work with in India. Our relationship with producers is based on trust, transparency and mutual support and benefit, it is a good way to work!

I am in a wonderful position of being able to share the stories of people who have made the items we sell, with people who purchase them in the UK. The more we think about and question where our things have come from and at what cost and to whom is surely a good thing. I do not see Fair Trade as the solution to global poverty but it is a positive step in the right direction. For there to be equality in the world between the rich and the poor there has got to be major changes in the policies of governments, the actions of multinational corporations and increased awareness of consumers, ultimately leading to lower consumption, protection of human rights and the global inequality gap narrowed and I am passionately involved in campaigns around these issues too. This is also why I dedicate a lot of my time to the educational aspect of Fair Grounds, because it is through learning and acting that change will come and I want to keep learning, sharing and working for a world of justice and peace with others!

Therefore I urge to you consider shopping ethically and responsibly. We are living in a world of ‘wants’ and this is unfortunately at the expense of many people around the world, and not sustainable, both in terms of the environment and the capacity of the world’s resources. There is enough to go around but only if shared, and it is the responsibility of those who have, to begin giving up luxuries and becoming more conscious consumers to start redressing the balance.

We have an online shop full of beautiful, recycled and handcrafted gifts, jewellery and homeware made with skill, care and love. If you are going to make an ethical purchase, please consider buying from Fair Grounds because you can see that your money will be having an impact, both immediately for the producers and in the longer term as the young people learning about these issues now continue their journey with respect for the planet and its people.”

Thank you for your support,

Nina

  

 

Steph Neville is a primary school teacher now living in Birmingham after having called France, The Philippines and Northern Ireland “home” during recent years.

Steph met Nina (founder of Fair Grounds) in 2003 on a coach travelling from Birmingham to Hamburg for the Taize community new year gathering, and has been involved with Fair Grounds since the very early days. She has enjoyed watching and helping it grow from strength to strength and is currently using her teaching knowledge and experience to produce some education resource packs based on Fair Grounds products and producer stories.

"I believe we have a responsibility to try and change the world we live in to become a fairer place, and I love being involved with Fair Grounds as one way to try and do a little bit of that!"


As well as being a company director, Steph had the opportunity to go to The Philippines with her husband (and Fair Grounds Director) Matt, in 2011 to meet some of Fair Grounds producers. "It was a huge privilege to be able to visit some of the producers of the Pinoy Paper Crafts Initiative (Baguio, The Philippines) and to see first hand the real difference Fair Grounds is making to the lives of real people."

 

Matt Neville is currently living in a Christian community in the centre of Birmingham, working part-time for CAFOD and part-time as a volunteer with various projects Birmingham city centre. He is married to Stephanie (another Fair Grounds director) and likes reading, running, theological debate and whisky!

Matt has been a company director of Fair Grounds since the beginning back in 2006, and had the opportunity to travel to The Philippines in 2011 (with Stephanie) to meet some of Fair Grounds producers.

"I am really happy to be involved with Fair Grounds, it has been really inspiring to be part of a new project which is really growing and making a difference."

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