Since 2006 Banbury has officially been classified as a Fair Trade town but that is set to end if the Fair Trade Action Banbury (FAB) steering group cannot find more active members.
The Fair Trade organisation promotes better prices, decent working conditions, sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. The motivation for Banbury to get involved, however, did not come from the business community.
Chris Eddy, steering group member, said: “The impetus has always come from people in the church. The members of the action group have all come from churches.
“Our problem today is our church congregations are getting old and we are not able to recruit young people from that source so we are now having to look for people from the town to support the group if Banbury’s going to continue to be a Fair Trade town.”
Currently the steering group has eight members with over half of those looking to limit their involvement or leave, so the group needs members to bring Fair Trade Action into the 21st century.
Mr Eddy said: “In its early days we had 20 members. The steering group can be any size but one that operates and has the strength to do the work.
“We haven’t got a secretary, we haven’t got a treasurer and we haven’t got anyone who is media savvy.”
A spokesperson from Banbury Chamber of Commerce, said: “Banbury Chamber of Commerce appreciates the efforts of Fairtrade Action Banbury (FAB) to encourage businesses to use Fairtrade products and help those less fortunate in developing countries.
“It would be a shame if Banbury lost its Fair Trade status and we understand that FAB are now recruiting new volunteers in order to continue the good work which Fairtrade does.”
The group has also had a long standing working relationship with the town council.
Kieron Mallon, leader of the town council, said: “The Fairtrade Action Group is independent of the town council but it has always received support from the council.
“The town mayor is the council’s appointed representative on the group and the council has supported the Fairtrade Action Group in many ways including cash grants.”
He added: “The council would like to thank the Fairtrade Action Group for its work over the years.”
The group will host a Fair Trade information event in Banbury Town Hall on Saturday, March 2 between 10am and 2pm.
To get involved contact FAB at www.facebook.com/FairtradeActionBanbury.