Scottish Fair Trade Forum and COVID-19 images

Scottish Fair Trade Forum and COVID-19

A message from Martin Rhodes, Chief Executive, the Scottish Fair Trade Forum

Dear supporters and members,

These are very difficult and worrying times. I want to take this opportunity to update supporters about how the Forum is responding.

Firstly, our immediate priority has been taking action in line with government and NHS advice to protect the health and wellbeing of staff, volunteers and partners, and to reduce the potential of the Forum contributing to the spread of coronavirus. Therefore, we put in place plans last week and implemented them this week to move all staff and volunteers to home-working.

Please note: whilst home-working is in place, the best way to contact staff and volunteers is by email.  

Rescheduling some events 
We have also postponed our planned regional sessions that were due to take place this month in Inverness and Kilmarnock. Also, we are looking at alternative plans for the annual Fair Trade Nation Lecture which was due to be held in April.

Continuing to campaign 
Secondly, we are looking at how we can most effectively continue our work to promote Fair Trade and support Fair Trade producers. Over the next couple of weeks, the staff team will be developing new ways in which we can continue to interact with our supporters most effectively and continue to do the very important work of promoting Fair Trade. For example, we are looking at how we might find other ways of distributing resources that would normally be developed for regional sessions, and ways in which we can bring people together virtually while we are not having face-to-face meetings. 
Information for Fair Trade Businesses 
Thirdly, please see the information we have compiled about Government support for businesses and charities during this difficult time, which can be found here. We are also routinely updating a list of Scottish-based Fair Trade suppliers selling their goods, including food and hygiene products, through online e-commerce platforms. Small businesses need our help, now more than ever, to pay their partners in the developing world and to stay afloat during these uncertain times.  

Planning ahead
Fourthly, we are looking at the financial resilience of the Forum. We are grateful for the continued financial support of the Scottish Government for the Forum. However, over the last few years, we have been focussing on increasing our income from other sources (membership fees, donations and product and consultancy services). In particular, it is envisaged that the income from consultancy services will be adversely impacted by the closure and restricted activities of many services and organisations. This will leave a gap in our finances. I realise that this is a difficult time but if you are in a position to make a donation and would like to do so to help the work of the Forum to continue, that would be very much appreciated. Please see here for more information or get in touch if you would like more information. 

This pandemic illustrates in a very obvious way what all of us as Fair Trade supporters know: that we are an interconnected global community; that we are dependent on each other; and that we can all act in ways which can strengthen and enhance those connections.

Hoping that you keep safe and looking forward to continuing to work with you.

Martin Rhodes
Chief Executive
The Scottish Fair Trade Forum