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Wales’ first fair trade town receives recognition


FOURTEEN years after a town in Carmarthenshire became the first Fair Trade Town in Wales, the Welsh Government have finally authorised road signage to be installed in the town that advertise this fact.

Over the years, Ammanford Fair Trade Town Group has been working tremendously hard for approval from Carmarthenshire County Council and the Welsh Government to have road signs placed that declare Ammanford as “Wales’ First Fair Trade Town”. The town became Wales’ first trade town fourteen years ago, back in 2002. A formal submission was made in June 2015 by Council officials to the Transport Minister but little progress had been shown, until now.

Following representations from Assembly Member Rhodri Glyn Thomas last month, the authorisation for the signs has been confirmed by the Transport Minister.

Corresponding with Mr Thomas, The Minister explained: “I can confirm my officials have authorised the proposed signs.  Once they have been made the local authority will be responsible for their installation.”

One of the members of the Ammanford Fairtrade Group Phil Broadhurst has been campaigning for Ammanford to receive its road signs. Pleased with the decision to finally receive the road signs, Mr Broadhurst told the Herald: “It’s great that we finally have confirmation that the wording on the road signs has been approved. We’ve secured funding from Fair Trade Wales and from Ammanford Town Council towards the costs of the road signs and hopefully there will be no further delays in seeing them installed.”

In January Broadhurst turned to Rhodri Glyn Thomas for assistance with the campaigning. He explained: “We approached Rhodri Glyn Thomas because he has been a strong supporter of Fair Trade during his time as an Assembly Member.”

“It’s been a long, long time coming, but to have the approval is a major step forward, and we’re grateful to both Rhodri Glyn Thomas and the Council officials who have helped get us to this point.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas, the Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM, offered his congratulations to the volunteers of the local fair trade group, and told them he would be encouraging the council to install the fair trade signs as soon as possible.

He told the Herald: “I’m delighted for the local volunteers who have not only worked hard to earn Fair Trade status for the town, but have continued that work and activity over many years putting Ammanford and the surrounding areas at the heart of a great number of positive initiatives.

“Fair Trade road signs for the town can help send a powerful message to residents and visitors alike about the type of community we are.  Only benefits can come from their installation.

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“I hope the new county council administration share my recognition of the fair trade town status and see the new road signs installed as quickly as possible.”

Mr Broadhurst finalised: “Ammanford should be proud of its status as the first Fair Trade Town in Wales. We have been an inspiration to others across Wales, the UK and the world.  With Fairtrade Fortnight starting later this month, this positive news is an excellent start to our fifteenth year of campaigning as a Fair Trade Town Group.”

Fairtrade Fortnight will take place between Monday 29th February, and Sunday 13th March with this year’s theme being Fairtrade Breakfasts.