• A group of Year 5 pupils from St John Fisher Catholic School are pictured during their visit to Heart of England Co-op’s Alfall Road store. Pictured in the back row are Pauline Finn, the school’s vice principal (centre), volunteer Denis Sullivan and Catherine Evans, membership and community adviser at the Heart of England Co-operative Society.

Thursday 23rd March 2023

Schoolchildren from Coventry embarked on an ethical journey to a local Co-op food store to learn more about Fairtrade.

Year 5 pupils from St John Fisher Catholic Primary School were taken by minibus to the Heart of England Co-op’s Alfall Road store.

The youngsters were split into different groups and given the chance to examine various Fairtrade products.

They also took on a special challenge created by Catherine Evans, the Heart of England Co-op’s membership and community adviser.

“The school wanted to visit us during Fairtrade Fortnight,” she said. “It was lovely to see how enthusiastic and interested they were about ethical trading.

“We thought it would be good to prepare a booklet for them containing various exercises and questions to help them consolidate what they had learnt during their visit.”

Pauline Finn, vice principal at St John Fisher School, which is part of the Romero Catholic Academy, said the visit proved extremely worthwhile.

“It was fabulous to have the opportunity to visit a Co-op store and see how they support Fairtrade.

“The children learned that by purchasing Fairtrade goods we are supporting workers and producers in many countries to ensure they have a fair wage, have good working conditions and are given a fair price for their products.

“The children also learned what the Fairtrade logo means and understand the importance of empowering people.”

She added: “As a school we are aiming to achieve our Live Simply CAFOD Award this year and part of this challenge is to gain a better understanding of Fairtrade and how we can help our global family.”

Fairtrade Fortnight is an annual event which helps to raise awareness of ethically sourced goods to help food producers in poorer countries. Fairtrade farmers make a minimal impact on the environment and yet are often the first to suffer the effects of climate change which can have a devastating impact on their crops.

Co-op food stores were among the first retailers in the UK to champion the Fairtrade movement nearly 30 years ago.

Ali Kurji, chief executive of the Heart of England Co-operative Society, said its stores have been offering a wide range of Fairtrade products over many years.

“Whether it’s a selection of fruit, a jar of coffee or a bottle of wine, every purchase of a Fairtrade product helps producers in poorer countries. They can be assured of a long-term relationship with stable pay and conditions.”