Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Why Fairtrade is for life not just for a fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight might have come to an end for 2009 but the fair trade ethic continues all year round in Leeds.

Leeds City Council has supported Fairtrade issues for a long time and in 2003 councillors agreed to ‘note the need to improve the economic and social conditions of Third World workers and farmers working for poverty wages in incredibly poor conditions’.

Since then, much has happened. The council has gone completely Fairtrade and now only serves Fairtrade drinks in its buildings, including tea rooms at Tropical World, Golden Acre Park, Temple Newsam, and Lotherton Hall. Vending machines in leisure centres across the city also include a Fairtrade option as well.

In March 2004, Leeds was given ‘Fairtrade City’ status which was only achieved after a long campaign involving the support of many residents and organisations.

These days, council workers who are responsible for the purchasing arrangements in departments for items where a Fairtrade option exists (like tea, coffee, sugar, fruit juice, bananas, chocolate, cereal bars and biscuits must implement Fairtrade principles wherever possible by purchasing a Fairtrade option in preference to a non-Fairtrade one.

As well as reviewing its own purchasing policies, the council has also been promoting the Fairtrade message to the people and firms it does business with. The idea is to encourage other organisations to think carefully about where they buy their products from.

The council’s success has led to the creation of FairtradeYorkshire. It is a unique partnership of the local authorities and other interested public sector who have come together to increase the awareness of Fairtrade and to increase the use of Fairtrade products by councils, businesses and individuals alike.

Councillor Richard Brett, joint leader and executive board member with responsibility for resources said:

“The developing world may seem a million miles from the hustle and bustle of Leeds, and there could be the feeling that there’s not much we can do to support farmers on the other side of the globe.

But – that’s not true – collectively we can make a difference and that’s why I want to encourage people to rethink their product choices and opt for Fairtrade.

This issue is of personal interest to me. In the 1960’s when I worked as a lecturer for Voluntary Services Overseas in Kathmandu, I met many of the kind of farmers who are now benefiting from Fair trade. I’ve also been helping to run a Fairtrade stall at my church for the last ten years.

It’s fantastic that so many citizens of our city have grasped the nettle, but we could go even further and my ambition would be for the whole of Yorkshire to be declared a Fairtrade region.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Andy Carter, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 395 0393
email: andy.carter@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds woman given ASBO to stop nuisance emergency calls

A west Leeds woman who made over 200 frivolous 999 calls has been served an Asbo by Leeds City Council to control her behaviour.

Julie Chadwick’s calls ranged from her claiming she was being beaten by her boyfriend, when the truth was they had had a verbal argument and she wanted the other party to leave, to her ringing saying that her partner was ‘covered in blood’ which turned out to be ‘Ribena’ blackcurrant drink that she had thrown at him.

On other occasions she wanted police to find a home for her boyfriend’s dog or to attend because a neighbour had ‘looked at her funny’.

The courts were also presented with evidence of numerous occasions where she would verbally abuse local residents, official visitors to her property and the police when they were called to her home at Bawn Drive, Farnley, Leeds.

The situation was so bad that contractors would not go to the property without a police officer or PCSO being present as Chadwick and her partner had both made threats of violence against a number of contractors.

Julie Chadwick was served with an Anti Social Behaviour warning in September 2008, and agreed to an Acceptable Behaviour Contract in 2005, but unfortunately she did not moderate her behaviour.

The estimated cost to West Yorkshire Police and therefore the council taxpayer of Chadwick’s calls is nearly £500,000.

Councillor Les Carter, executive board member responsible for community safety and chair of Safer Leeds said:
“This kind of nuisance behaviour simply cannot be tolerated. People experiencing a genuine emergency risk a reduced response if emergency services are dealing with frivolous calls such as Julie Chadwick’s.
“I hope she takes this final warning to heart, because if she breaches her Asbo, she risks imprisonment.”

Chadwick has also admitted a criminal charge of wasting police time in relation to the calls and has been given a two-year community order.

Inspector Tom Horner, of the West Outer Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:
“A great deal of our time and limited resources were wasted responding to these totally unnecessary 999 calls - time which could have been better spent dealing with genuine incidents.
“Anti-Social Behaviour Orders are one way in which the police, in partnership with the council, are able to challenge and confront unacceptable behaviour that impacts on the whole community. They give people subject of an order a final chance to change their ways. If they fail to take that opportunity and breach the order they will be arrested and dealt with by the courts.”

Notes for editors:
• Safer Leeds is the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) dedicated to tacking drugs and crime in the city. It is a partnership organisation between a number of local agencies including Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police, NHS Leeds, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and West Yorkshire Police Authority.

For media enquiries please contact:
John Donegan, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 247 4450
email John.Donegan@leeds.gov.uk