Join us in celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight 2017 at our event in Luton Town Hall where we will share:

  • Our Luton Fairtrade Story
  • The Fairtrade Fortnight Theme: ‘Take A Break’  
  • A presentation by St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School presentation
  • Research Study on Fairtrade and Cohesion
  • Fairtrade Stalls
  • FREE Fairtrade refreshments!

We are also excited to announce that Patrick Kaberia Muthaura, a Kenyan tea producer, will be joining us to share his experiences in person! 

Date: Tuesday 28th February 2017
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
Venue: Luton Town Hall, George St, Luton, LU1 2BQ 

Places must be reserved by contacting us via:
Email: jgrassroots@btconnect.com or
Phone: 01582 416946

You can also download our event poster here!

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AuthorGrassroots Luton

Join us for the 21st Annual Peace Walk 2017 – an annual public demonstration of community solidarity to build a stronger Luton by fostering better understanding.

This year’s Peace Walk will visit places of worship in and around the High Town area - with other activities along the way! 

Date: Saturday 23rd September
Time: 1:30pm - 5:30pm

The full programme will be announced soon so keep your eyes peeled. 

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For more details please contact:

  • Phone: 01582 416946
  • Email: info@lutonfaiths.org
  • Web: www.lutonfaiths.org
  • Download: the SAVE THE DATE poster here!
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AuthorGrassroots Luton

'Women Sharing Traditions & Cultures'

GRASSROOTS is happy to announce that it's annual 'Precious Pearls' event will be taking place once again for International Women's Day, where you can:

  • Share the talents of Luton women 
  • Meet women from different backgrounds
  • Enjoy yourself with different cultural entertainment
  • Enjoy the refreshments provided!

This event will take place on Thursday 9th March 2017 from 6:30pm - 8:30pm at High Town Methodist Church Hall, 47 High Town Road, Luton, Beds, LU2 0BW.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS A WOMENS ONLY EVENT

For more information please contact Ghar se Ghar or GRASSROOTS:

  • Call 01582 416946  
  • Email gharseghar@btconnect.com
  • Download the poster here!
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AuthorGrassroots Luton

It's a new year, so why not try something new? The dates for Circle Dancing sessions in Luton for 2017 are out now, and all are invited to attend, even beginners! 

Circle Dancing is traditional folk dancing from countries such as Greece, France, Russia, Israel, The Balkans and Celtic Britain, together with more recent choreographed dances to contemporary music. The music is wide ranging from across the world. We dance together in a circle so no partner is needed. The steps are taught before each dance. Circle Dancing is good exercise and fun. It can also be meditative.

Classes take place at: 

Blenheim Crescent Baptist Church Hall (Blenheim Crescent)
Tuesday Afternoons from 2.30-4.00 pm
10 Jan / 14 Feb / 14 Mar / 11 Apr / 9 May / 13 Jun / 11 Jul / 12 Sep / 10 Oct / 14 Nov / 12 Dec

St Anne’s Church Hall (Crawley Green Road)
Tuesday Evenings from 7.30-9.30 pm
17 Jan / 21 Feb / 21 March / 18 April / 16 May / 20 Jun / 18 Jul / 19 Sep / 17 Oct / 21 Nov / 19 Dec

Hockwell Ring Community Centre (Mayne Avenue)
Wednesday Afternoons from 1.00-2.00 pm
These are weekly and Term Time only

High Town Methodist Church Hall (High Town Road)
3rd Wednesday of the month 3.30 – 4.30 pm
18 Jan / 15 Feb / 15 Mar / 19 Apr / 17 May / 21 Jun / 19 Jul / 20 Sep / 18 Oct / 15 Nov / 20 Dec 

All sessions cost £3. If you would like further information please: 

Call Ann Hyde on 01582 725266 or 07722 677280
Email annhyde204@msn.com

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AuthorGrassroots Luton

Ryad Khodabocus from Luton Council of Faiths (LCoF) and part of the team at GRASSROOTS, visited Number 10 Downing Street with other Fairtrade supporters and staff on 1st December 2016, to deliver over 50,000 signatures on a letter from the Fairtrade Foundation to Theresa May.

The letter calls upon the Prime Minister to make a public commitment that our post-Brexit trade deals and business policies will tackle global poverty and deliver a fair deal to farmers and workers in developing countries. 50,057 signatures were gathered in total! Thank you to our local Fairtrade supporters who were among those who signed the letter. 

To keep up to date with Fairtrade related news from Luton, please 'Like' the Fairtrade Luton page on Facebook, or visit this website again soon for news and updates!

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AuthorGrassroots Luton

On Friday 2nd December 2016, GRASSROOTS trustee Sheila Marsden, and coordinator David Jonathan, went along to the glittering Luton Best Awards which was held at the Luton Hoo Hotel. This annual event honours the outstanding achievements of many of Luton's individuals, groups and organisations. GRASSROOTS was very proud to receive the Luton In Harmony award presented by Pastor Lloyd Denny, Chair of Luton In Harmony, and Andrew Castle, television and radio presenter.

Coordinator David Jonathan reflected "It gives us great pleasure to win the Luton In Harmony award. This is particularly significant as we have now entered our Silver Jubilee year, and after 25 years of activity in Luton, it is greatly encouraging to see our work continuing to be valued in this way".

Thank you to all of our friends, colleagues and supporters!

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AuthorGrassroots Luton

On the 29th of November 2016, members of faith-based organisations met in Luton with the UK Coalition for Preventing Genocide, Protecting the Vulnerable, of which GRASSROOTS team member Bonnie Evans-Hills is a member. The coalition was formed at a meeting in Treviso, Italy in September 2015, helping to develop the United Nations’ Europe Plan of Action - recommendations for a regional strategy in preventing incitement to violence that could lead to atrocity crimes. The Luton meeting brought together those working on the ground across the UK in the areas of youth work, combating hate crime and radicalisation, gender issues, and support for refugees and asylum seekers.

A statement of recommendations from this meeting will be released in a few weeks’ time, and presented to the UK government with the support of the United Nations Office for Genocide Prevention and Responsibility to Protect.

While in Luton, the group heard about the inspiring work many local faith-based organisations are carrying out to celebrate diversity and combat discrimination, including GRASSROOTS, in Luton, and Hope Not Hate, a national organisation which maps hate crime.

For further information on the Europe Plan of Action visit: http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/adviser/pdf/Europe%20Plan%20of%20Action.pdf

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AuthorGrassroots Luton

As GRASSROOTS enters it's 25th year of work in the Luton community, we are proud to announce that we have been nominated for the 'Luton in Harmony' award at the Luton's Best Awards 2016!   

Being nominated is of course a great achievement, but this means that we are also entered for the 'People's Choice Award' which people need to vote for, and so we need YOUR help!

Please vote for us by visiting the website here, scroll down and click on Grassroots, then click Submit. It is that simple! You can only vote for one person/organisation, and are only able to vote once from any laptop/PC/mobile phone, so please do support us as every vote counts! However, you can vote for more than one person/organisation if you use a different device (e.g. you can vote once using a laptop and a second time using a PC). 

(If needed, the full web address is http://www.luton-dunstable.co.uk/vote-now-for-your-people-s-choice-award-at-luton-s-best-2016/story-29869181-detail/story.html

We kindly invite you to also encourage your family, friends and colleagues to also vote for GRASSROOTS.

Thank you for your support! 

 

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AuthorGrassroots Luton

As we are approach advent and Christmas, thinking about the most destitute and vulnerable, we know that so much poverty and so many issues that refugees are facing are very much connected with the disruption of the climate eco-system and unfair trade and exploitation. Astonishingly, 70% of small farmers in poorer countries produce food for the western civilisation, and yet sickeningly 50% of them are dying in poverty.
 
We can all play a small role in combating this. For the second year running, GRASSROOTS is running its Fairtrade Festivals campaign. This Christmas, you can buy a Mystery Christmas Pouch for just £5.00 (if not less), which is 100% ethical and Fairtrade.  

We are proud to announce that our famous Fairtrade hampers are also now wrapped with 100% biodegradable cellophane and provided on a leaf plate. These hampers can be made bespoke to your wishes, and so include a variety of goodies which make perfect ethical Christmas gifts! You are welcome to come and visit GRASSROOTS at 47 High Town Road (but please contact us to make an appointment), where you can see a wide range of Fairtrade items on display, ready to be put into your hamper selection.

We are full of ideas for you this Christmas, from Fairtrade luxury teas, coffees, spices, candles, oils, soaps, incenses and diffusers to Fairtrade clocks and women’s bags. Oh yes, and why not sweeten your hamper with a jar of locally sourced RAW honey? We are working with pioneers in Fairtrade including TraidCraft, Namaste, Dalit, Liberation Nuts and more, so please come and see what we have on offer. 

Hamper prices vary depending on what you wish to include and are set at £10, £15, £20, £24, £30, £40, £50, £75 or more depending upon your budget. However, if you do not want to purchase a hamper but are interested in some individual items listed above, we can provide them for you too!  

To get an idea of what we have on offer, please download our exclusive Fairtrade brochure!

We have something for everyone's budget, and depending upon your purchase, you may even get a FREE gift for your support! Much more importantly though, you will also be helping to make this world a much fairer place by supporting Fairtrade, whilst helping the environment too. If you are interested and/or would like more information, please do get in touch with us: 

  • Call 01582 416946  
  • Email info@lutonfaiths.org

We hope to see from you soon, from all in the GRASSROOTS team!

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AuthorGrassroots Luton

Our local MPs, Kelvin Hopkins and Gavin Shuker, have kindly agreed to talk with Faith Leaders and Community Members, involved in the work of Luton Council of Faiths (LCoF) and GRASSROOTS. 

Join us as we share the opportunity in a social and informal setting to discuss any concerns or aspirations we may have around topics including Brexit, Hate Crime (Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, racism etc), Britain's response to Refugees, rising levels of poverty and homelessness, hope for the Labour Party's future and more.

This event is taking place on Friday 9th December 2016, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, at Holy Ghost Parish Church, 33 Westbourne Road, Luton, Beds. LU4 8JD (Parking is available within the premises).

Please do reserve your place as it helps us to finalise seating and catering requirements!

For more information or to reserve your place please contact David Jonathan (Johny):

  • Call 01582 416946 or TEXT ONLY to 07886 350854
  • Email jgrassroots@btconnect.com
  • Download promotional flyer here!
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AuthorGrassroots Luton

How can we work together to ensure the well-being of children and vulnerable adults in our places of worship and faith-based community organisations?

This workshop is FREE and open to representatives of all faiths in Luton and it’s surrounding areas, and to organisations that work with faith groups. 

It will include:

  • Introduction to Safeguarding and Good Practice
  • Who to Contact for Advice and Reporting
  • Case Studies and Toolkits
  • Pack of Resources

A vegetarian buffet will be provided!

This event is taking place on Thursday 1st December 2016, from 6pm to 8:30pm, at All Saints Church Hall (entrance to the hall is on Warwick Road West), Shaftesbury Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU4 8AH. 

For more information or to reserve your place please contact us:

  • Call Kim Greig on 07930 601640 
  • Email near.neighbours_luton@btconnect.com
  • Download promotional flyer here!
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AuthorGrassroots Luton

Biscot Faith Partnership community workers Melissa and Mary have partnered with UpRising’s Emerging Leaders Advisory Board in Luton, to provide backpacks full of essentials and food to local people who are sleeping rough this winter.

Last year Luton was one of the top ten places with high numbers of people sleeping rough in England, with 53 known rough sleepers. It is difficult to record an accurate number of rough sleepers as many hide away to protect themselves, which is especially true for women.

They are fundraising and collecting items now and will distribute backpacks throughout December. Just £30 will provide 1 backpack! You can give any amount online here.

Do you have any of the following items to give?

  • backpacks, umbrellas
  • scarves, hats, gloves
  • new socks, emergency blankets, rain ponchos
  • sanitiser, wipes, sanitary products
  • cereal bars, water etc

If so, please contact Melissa on 07757 081120 to give items or monetary donations. You can also follow the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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AuthorGrassroots Luton

It's cold outside and the sun is chancing, so come inside and join us dancing!

Circle Dancing is traditional folk dancing from countries such as Greece, France, Russia, Israel, The Balkans and Celtic Britain, together with more recent choreographed dances to contemporary music.

The music is wide ranging from across the world. We dance together in a circle so no partner is needed. The steps are taught before each dance. Circle Dancing is good exercise and fun. It can also be meditative. Beginners welcome.

Classes take place at: 

Blenheim Crescent Baptist Church Hall (Blenheim Crescent)
Tuesday Afternoons from 2.30-4.00 pm
8th Nov / 13th Dec

St Anne’s Church Hall (Crawley Green Road)
Tuesday Evenings from 7.30-9.30 pm
18th Oct / 15th Nov / 20th Dec

Hockwell Ring Community Centre (Mayne Avenue)
Wednesday Afternoons from 1.00-2.00 pm
These are weekly and Term Time only

High Town Methodist Church Hall (High Town Road)
3rd Wednesday of the month 3.30 – 4.30 pm
19th Oct / 16th Nov / 21st Dec

Each of the sessions in December are CHRISTMAS SPECIALS! 

All sessions cost £3. If you would like further information please: 

  • Call Ann Hyde on 01582 725266 or 07722 677280
  • Email annhyde204@msn.com
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AuthorGrassroots Luton

A Multicultural Christmas event featuring food and entertainment from around the world will be taking place on:

  • Date: Friday 25th November 2016
  • Time: 7pm onwards
  • Cost: Tickets cost £10 and places must be booked in advance
  • Venue: Holy Ghost Parish Church Hall, Westbourne Road, Luton, LU4 8JD

You are even invited to wear your own cultural dress!

To register your interest or to book a place please contact us:

  • Call us on 01582 967265 / 07957 450624
  • Email crcwsmiles@hotmail.co.uk
  • Download the poster here!
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AuthorGrassroots Luton

GRASSROOTS was proud to once again support the 20th Annual Peace Walk organised by Luton Council of Faiths (LCoF) which was held on 24th September 2016 starting at 2pm at the Luton Town Hall War Memorial. The planning and work had started way back in January 2016, bringing together key faith leaders and engaging them with schools and the community. This year’s hosts were Shree Ravidaas Bhawan Sikh Temple on Cardigan Street, Luton Central Mosque on Westbourne Road and All Saints Church on Shaftesbury Road.

 
Primary schools namely St Martin De Porres, Chantry Academy, St Joseph Catholic, Maidenhall, Beech Hill, Hillborough Junior, Farley Hill Junior, St Margaret of Scotland, St Matthews, Wenlock CofE Junior, Ramridge and Bushmead responded positively to the school engagement programme set by LCoF during the summer term. Over two thousand pupils benefited, especially in the school assemblies by discussions held in a BBC style show, on the Religious Education (RE) theme ‘what will make our town more respectful?’ This has been a ground breaking initiative where we have had panels of local faith leaders to demonstrate how they are working together for the common good, hence providing an alternative to the negative portrayal of our town and of religion provided by the media, focusing only on war and extremism. During the panel discussions, tough questions were asked by the pupils such as ‘When will religions Unite, why do you argue or fight?  Do you always agree? Why are we different etc? 

Many schools also joined as a collective in the Character and Value Development Workshops. These workshops were delivered by screening the Kung Fu Panda movie to prompt discussions around what lessons could be learnt and practically applying them to one’s life journey. 


The most iconic activity however, has been the ‘Breath of the Compassionate’ mosaic tile artwork made from scratch and led by Artist-Potter Moriam Grillo, with a William Morris inspired theme. Children learnt about William Morris and come with inspired drawings to be printed on the tiles. The sessions cut across art, history, geography, maths and science showing the children combining arts, culture and sciences into a beautiful piece of art. Nearly 5000 pieces of tiles were made with communities across Luton, who participated in this activity with great enjoyment towards the end of summer. 


The Peace Walk day was a showcase of these great community initiatives and many more, giving participants an opportunity to expand their horizon, by also visiting different places of worship that people would probably never have had a chance to visit and ask questions about. Great hospitality was extended on the day at each place of worship, thus sharing cultures and blending into British traditions at All Saints Church with a range of activities, from unveiling the mosaic artwork in the newly developed Peace Garden and looking at community allotments, to letting one’s little Robin Hood dream come true by having a go at Archery provided by local community coaches from Shooting Stars Archery Club, also established by Luton Council of Faiths. 

To see many more photos of the day and places of worship, find Luton Council of Faiths on Facebook

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AuthorGrassroots Luton

Twenty-First Century Theologies of Religions, a new book co-authored by friend and previous GRASSROOTS team member, Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi, is being launched on 5th October 2016.

Within Christian theology, debates on the theology of religions have intensified over the last thirty or so years. This book surveys the field and maps future directions in this expanding and important area of research.

Both established experts and new voices address typological debates, comparative theology, multiple religious belonging or identity, and how dialogue between different religious traditions affects our understanding of these issues. Different perspectives and traditions are represented, and, while focusing upon debates in Christian theology, voices and perspectives from a range of religious traditions are also included. This book is an essential tool for research students and established scholars working within the theology of religions and interreligious studies.

The book launch is taking place at the Ecumenical Institute for Study and Dialogue (EISD), 490/5 Havelock Rd. Colombo 6, Sri Lanka, on Wednesday 5th October 2016 at 4.30 pm. Whilst this launch is being held overseas, copies of the book are available in the UK.

For more information or to enquire about purchasing a book, please email shanthi.hettiarachchi@gmail.com

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AuthorGrassroots Luton

Why Interfaith? is a new book launched this week in Luton. It is a compilation of stories, reflections and challenges from recent inter faith engagements within Northern Europe by the Poorvo Communion - made up of Anglican and Lutheran Churches.

Following a conference held in Norrkoping (Sweden) in 2014, Co-Editors Revd Pernilla Myrelid (Church of Sweden) & Revd Dr Andrew Wingate (Church of England) drew together contributions from Christian scholars, including Rt Revd Dr Richard Atkinson (Bishop of Bedford), Revd Bonnie Evans Hills (CofE St Albans Diocesan Inter Faith Advisor) & David Jonathan (Director GRASSROOTS, Luton).

The Archbishop of the Church of Sweden Antje Jackelen says, “Several inspiring examples, of how people of different faiths come together to meet the challenges of our world, provide a convincing answer to the question raised in the book’s title – Why Interfaith.”

Copies of the book can be purchased from GRASSROOTS:

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AuthorGrassroots Luton

Join us for the 20th Annual Peace Walk 2016 – an annual public demonstration of community solidarity to build a stronger Luton by fostering better understanding.

This is an opportunity to:

  • Ask questions and learn about various cultures and faith traditions
  • Make new friends
  • Taste a variety of snacks ending with an English Afternoon Tea
  • See the inspiring 6 months journey of community and schools engagement

We will also unveil 5000 mosaic tiles made from scratch by the Luton community with William Morris inspired artworks by over 500 school children at the newly developed Peace Garden.

This year's annual Peace Walk will take place as follows:

  • 1.50pm - Gather at Town Hall War Memorial
  • 2.30pm - Visit the Shree Guru Ravidass Temple on Cardigan Street
  • 3.50pm - Visit the Luton Central Mosque on Westbourne Road
  • 5.00pm - Finish at All Saints Church on Shaftesbury Road 

The event is taking place on Saturday 24th September 2016, from 2-6pm. Please do put the date in your diary! For more details please contact us: 

  • Call us on 01582 416946 / 547866
  • Email info@lutonfaiths.org
  • Download promotional flyer here!
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AuthorGrassroots Luton

The choice of the British electorate to leave the European Union is quite a turning point, not just for Britain, but also for Europe. While we’ll discuss how to move forward, what concerns me most is the scars left behind by the political campaigns.

Some have labelled the campaigns as ‘tainted with racism’ and ‘anti-immigrant rhetoric’. Others say it is legitimate for people to wish to assert their independence and culture in their own homeland and that it does not necessarily imply hatred towards other races and cultures.

Either way, following (what has been termed as) a ‘quite bitterly fought contest’, fears are that it could leave a lasting legacy of division. There are already concerns and anxieties in our society, with many people feeling vulnerable because of the fear of all kinds of xenophobic or racist backlash, as being seen and reported currently nationwide.

In such a context, it is worth noting that:

(A)    All those who voted for Brexit did not vote because of immigration alone. Still, one cannot deny that many (if not most) British citizens, including some immigrants themselves, feel strongly against the ongoing levels of immigration. We have to hear and accept that.

(B)    Not all, but many immigrants feel that the British do not like us. We are not wanted here. We have to hear and accept that too.

(C)   84% of the British public supports letting EU migrants stay – including three-quarters (77%) of Brexit voters (read more online at http://www.britishfuture.org/articles/15131/). This sends a clear message to the extremist minority, some of whom are treating the Brexit victory as a licence to attack and harass migrants and minorities, that the British public deplore their actions. We need to hear and accept this part of the reality too.

Understanding that it is very difficult to legislate or control how people feel or must feel, one thing is very clear that in the post-Brexit Britain, it is in our hands now to shape the future, for us and for our next generation(s).

I would like to believe that most of us want Britain to be what it has strived hard, over recent years, to become - i.e. a tolerant, diverse, multicultural and prosperous nation.

As we have been doing in the past, we need to continue offering even more positive channels now, for people to come together locally, to build trust in one another and to work together to effect positive changes in our respective local communities. We must stay confident in our ability to ‘live well together’ and ‘live well with difference’.

They may say, “It won’t be easy”.

But was it ever easier before? (Those involved in this work know it. Don’t we?)

Still we did it.

Looking back 50 or 100 years, we know we have come a long way.

So, let us keep at it.

Let us continue our journey.

David (Johny) Jonathan, Coordinator, GRASSROOTS

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AuthorGrassroots Luton

Once again we are pleased to be able to offer Eid Fairtrade Hampers! You can give an Eid Fairtrade Hamper to your loved ones or a neighbour, and why not someone of a different faith to share in the joy of Ramadan?

As we are aware, Fairtrade is not charity but it is about justice. Astonishingly, despite producing 70% of the world's food, over half of the world's hungriest people are small producer farmers in third world countries. Purchasing their products in fair trade terms means they can have a better training, tools, education, health care and clean water.

Hamper A: £31

  • Fairtrade Zaytoun Olive Oil 500ml & Za'atar sachet 20g
  • Fairtrade Zaytoun Medjoul Dates 500g
  • Fairtrade Zaytoun Olive Oil Soap - Pomegranate
  • Local Honey
  • Fairtrade Candle + Ceramic Holder
  • Fairtrade Moroccan Style Lamp
  • Free Fairtrade Pill/Jewel Box
  • Packing comes with a beautiful Olive Ribbon and Eid Mubarak Sticker and a Fairtrade compostable plate.

Hamper B: £19

  • Fairtrade Zaytoun Olive Oil 250ml
  • Fairtrade Zaytoun Medjoul Dates 250g
  • Fairtrade Zaytoun Olive Oil Soap - Pomegranate
  • Fairtrade Zattar 80g
  • Local Honey
  • Fairtrade Candle + Ceramic Holder
  • Free Fairtrade Pill/Jewel Box
  • Packing comes with an Eid Mubarak Sticker and a Fairtrade compostable plate.

Hamper C: £12

  • Fairtrade Medjoul Dates 250g
  • Fairtrade Olive Oil Soap - Pomegranate
  • Fair Trade Candle + Holder
  • Packing comes with an Eid Mubarak Sticker and a Fairtrade compostable plate.

 

For further enquiries or to purchase, please email info@lutonfaiths.org or call the GRASSROOTS office on 01582 416946.

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AuthorGrassroots Luton