WHO WE WORK WITH
Fair Trader is a community co-operative, part of the international co-operative movement. It is made up of our members, our customers, our suppliers and our producers.
A not-for-profit organization, we partner smaller and sustainable suppliers, particularly co-operatives.
We spent just over £75,000 with some 90 small suppliers last year. All these were assessed by our members as having a positive impact in economic, social, or environmental terms. Our orders for many of these small suppliers continue to provide them with a dignified way of supporting themselves at a time when many face increased economic hardship. We are also working hard to help potential new suppliers access the UK market, helping with improving design, quality, and promotion.
FEATURED SUPPLIER – ARTHOUSE MEATH
ARTHOUSE Meath is a not-for-profit business celebrating the work of people with complex epilepsy and learning disabilities, all of whom need different levels of support. Artists work alongside instructors to create unique commercial products which are then sold in shops such as Fair Trader. Each artist brings a different skill to the enterprise and every contribution is highly valued. Their artwork is used to create homewares, soaps, bags, brooches and more. Artwork is printed onto natural and organic materials, keeping the environment in mind.
Amy Sherrat, one of the artists from ARTHOUSE Meath, had a stroke at 10 months old which caused her to lose all movement from her left side and brought on epilepsy when she was 10. She has to take 62 tablets a day. She says, “I’m 25 and have a real passion for creating anything that involves making artwork. Whenever I have these ideas I’ll always have a go at creating them. I love making (not buying!) and doing things in my own creative way.”
Lyn Belcher, another artist, has suffered with MS for 16 years. This means that she can’t walk far, forgets things and suffers from fatigue and numbness. She says, “I started working at ARTHOUSE about six years ago as both an artist and a volunteer. Before I had ARTHOUSE I was stuck at home as a mum and wife. A social worker asked what my interests were and I said art and that’s how it all started. It’s the best thing I have ever done! It’s like having another family here and it’s worth getting up in the morning for.”
Offering a sense of purpose lies at the heart of ARTHOUSE Meath’s philosophy, in line with their belief that feeling truly respected improves health and wellbeing. Their aim is to challenge perceptions of people’s disabilities and to create better acceptance and inclusion for the disabled.
They hope to offer more opportunities to people in other towns across the UK. 100% of sales revenue sustains the enterprise, enabling it to expand and evolve.
PREVIOUS SUPPLIERS’ STORIES