Hope Church is looking for a community worker for High Town (where GRASSROOTS is based), someone who will be active in improving communication, supporting events and welcoming new residents to the area. A little more detail on each of these is provided by Hope Church as follows:

Communication – There are numerous communication networks, which connect the High Town community to events happening in the area and ultimately to each other. These include a ward wide newsletter, currently distributed twice a year and a website – hightownluton.com. These valuable resources have potential, which we hope you can help us realise.

Supporting Events – There are some specific community events, which need support (in particular the High Town Festival), which bring the whole community together creating a space where old friends can re-connect and new relationships can be formed across the community.

Welcome – We recognise the diverse and ever changing nature of the High Town population. We want to put special effort into connecting with those who have recently moved to the area, with a particular focus on refugees and asylum seekers, welcoming them to their new home and community, and enabling them to get stuck in with all they have to offer to their new neighbours.

You will need to:

  • work with local people and neighbourhood organisations – including people and groups with a diverse range of faiths and ethnicities;
  • facilitate grassroots community action;
  • participate in in-house training and support provided by Hope Church

Outline details:

  • Initially: 16 hours / week.
  • Salary: £10 ph
  • Closing date: 15th September 2017
  • Interviews: Friday 29th September 2017

The above information can be downloaded here. For more details or to apply please visit Hope Church's website.

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 - on Saturday 23rd September 2017.

This year’s Peace Walk will begin with the launch of a new Peace Garden at High Town Methodist Church and will include a number of different events and activities throughout the afternoon. 

The Peace Walk will give you:

  • An opportunity to ask questions about different cultures and faith traditions
  • Meet new people and make new friends
  • Taste a variety of snacks along the way!

Please dress modestly and bring a scarf or head covering. 


  • 13:30    Gather at High Town Methodist Church (47 High Town Road, Luton, LU2 0BW)
  • 14:30    Visit Hope Church Luton (Villa Road, Luton, LU2 7NT)
  • 15:30    Visit Bury Park Jamia Mosque (21-27 Bury Park Road, Luton, LU1 1HB) 
  • 16:30    Finish at Guru Nanak Gurdwara (2a Dallow Road, Luton, LU1 1LY)

If you are driving, please consider parking at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara (address above) and walking to High Town Methodist Church for the start, or parking at the rear of High Town Methodist Church in Wenlock Street Car Park (LU2 0NN). 

If you are unable to walk there, please contact us so that we can arrange transportation for you. For more details please contact us on 01582 416946 or info@lutonfaiths.org

You can download the flyer here.

AuthorGrassroots Luton

A new crowdfund is being launched to help deliver Catalyst, an exciting and innovative leadership programme in Luton, to help young people aged 16 to 26 from different backgrounds develop into positive role models. Catalyst aims to create a new generation of young leaders who have positive relationships with people of other faiths and ethnicities, and will go on to improve their local communities. The programme helps to develop confidence, skills and opportunities, and strengthens employment prospects for those who take part.

Near Neighbours, which is hosted in Luton at GRASSROOTS, designed Catalyst and has already supported 39 young people from Luton in completing it, some of whom have gone on to become Young Leaders for the US Embassy, work for their local MP's, study at Madrid University, set up a Syrian Kitchen and so much more. If you would like to support more young people in Luton having this opportunity or would like more information, please visit http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/catalyst-course-in-luton.  

AuthorGrassroots Luton

Day Out in Wicksteed Park for the families and children affected by the Grenfell Tower fire

“Rebuilding Lives” has never been an event.
It is a process that continues after the initial shock and recovery.

This “Rebuilding Lives” campaign of LCoF (Luton Council of Faiths) and GRASSROOTS is to help people affected by the Grenfell Tower Fire Tragedy in West London. We have previously had “Rebuilding Lives” Fundraising Campaigns for:

1)    Tsunami victims and survivors in Galle, Sri Lanka (2004-05)
2)    Earthquake victims and survivors in Namnotta, Kashmir (2005-06)
3)    Flood victims and survivors in Pakistan (2010-11)
4)    Earthquake victims and survivors in Haiti and Chile (2010-11)
5)    Floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2014-15)

In every crisis, we have had people here in Luton, advising us on sending help. This time our colleagues and volunteers Angela Scarlett Marshall of St Thomas Church (Stopsley) and Madit Grant of The Olive Tree Church (Biscot), are proposing to organise a DAY OUT for the Grenfell Tower Fire survivors by end of August 2017.

This tragedy has been shocking and overwhelming but every time, people from all religions and ethnicities, and people of no particular faith affiliation in Luton, have responded generously. So, if you are able to help, you can do so in the following ways:

a)    BACS Transfer via Cooperative Bank – Account Number: 65066380 / Sort Code: 08-92-99
b)    Cheques payable to ‘Luton Council of Faiths’ sent to 47 High Town Road, Luton, LU2 0BW
(for both BACS transfers and cheques please add a reference stating ‘Grenfell’)
c)    Make a donation online at https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/6787
d)    Cash donations delivered at GRASSROOTS, 47 High Town Road, Luton, LU2 0BW
 (or call 01582 416946 and we can arrange collection)

As they say, every little helps!

For more details or press interviews please contact Angela Scarlett Marshall on 07908 759 004. Thank you for any support you can give. The above information can also be downloaded here.

AuthorGrassroots Luton

We, the Luton Council of Faiths (LCoF), a voluntary body of Luton’s different faiths and cultures, are again deeply shocked following Sunday evening terror attack while Muslim worshipers were leaving the Ramadan prayer in the Finsbury Park area in London. It has caused numerous causalities and has left one dead.

We strongly condemn such vile, revengeful, barbaric and cowardly act which is fuelled by hate. Targeting people because of their faith is a betrayal of British values of tolerance, respect and kindness which is the foundational base of our society. “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind!” Hats off to the Imam who handled this difficult situation promptly and bravely protecting the perpetrator and handing him over to the Police despite he said he wanted to kill Muslims. In the eye of the storm, he stopped the cycle of violence and hate, while Muslim community has stayed calm and cooperated with the Police.

This attack coincided with Jo Cox MP’s first death anniversary. In Luton many of us were invited at Medina Mosque yesterday evening to celebrate her life remembering her famous quote “We are far more united and have more in common that which divides us”. This was followed by the breaking of fast with our Muslims friends. It is such continuous acts of kindness, friendship and mutual support that help us stay firm and resolute in stopping the forces of division. We need to nurture values and good character in our communities to combat extremism while staying vigilant.

We call upon authorities and media to deal with such matters justly. We also urge the government to apply the same determination to combat extremism, incitement to hate and radicalisation by far-right groups, who are openly spreading hate on social media and intentionally causing tensions and creating hate videos in front of the East London Mosque at a time when worshipers were preparing for prayers and busy in service to their neighbourhood following the tragic Grenfell Tower Fire.

With a rise of hate crime, Bedfordshire Police alongside other communities urges anyone who experiences racist, verbal or physical abuse to call 101 or 999 in an emergency. People can also report online via www.report-it.org.uk.

As Luton Council of Faiths, we therefore reaffirm our hope, pledge and strong resolve, to continue playing an active role in creating an environment of understanding and respect among the many religious and culturally diverse communities, locally and where possibly influencing globally. We continue to stay in solidarity. Too many lives have been lost - enough is enough!

You can download the full statement here.

AuthorGrassroots Luton

We are pleased to announce that once again, we have a beautiful range of Eid Fairtrade Hampers available in the GRASSROOTS office. You can give an Eid Fairtrade Hamper to your loved ones or a neighbour, and why not surprise someone of a different faith (or none) so that they can share in the joy of Ramadan? You can choose one of our hampers or even make one of your own!

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.

This year we also have Zaytoun Gift Boxes including Olive Oil, Dates, Za'atar and Pomegranate Soap, along with a wide selection of teas, lanterns, candles, chocolates, cups, Bedfordshire Honey and Kashmiri Saffron!

Please download our poster for more information including prices. Eid Mubarak!

AuthorGrassroots Luton

The Near Neighbours programme offers small grants between £250 and £5,000, as seed funding for local groups and organisations who are working to bring together neighbours, to develop relationships across diverse faiths and ethnicities in order to improve their communities.

Grants have offered funding to a broad range of work; environmental, social, cultural, artistic, and sporting, that furthers the programme’s aims of encouraging social interaction and social action. 

Grants include the following criteria. Projects should:

  • Bring together peoples of two or more different faiths and/or ethnicities, to build friendships and develop relationships of trust.
  • Work locally. We want to see people who are living very locally (i.e. in the same street, estate or neighbourhood) come together.
  • Work sustainably. We want to see long term and natural relationships grow, that will last beyond the period of funding.
  • Work to improve the community. We want to see people working to make their communities a better place to live.
  • Involve diverse people in planning and implementation. People from more than one faith group and/or ethnicity are involved in planning and implementing the proposal.

Grants are now OPEN so if you would like to apply, please download the criteria and application form. The deadline for applications is 17th Nov 2017. If you need some inspiration, check out some of our past Luton projects here!

For more information about the Near Neighbours programme please contact Kim Greig on 07930 601640 or email near.neighbours-luton@btconnect.com.

AuthorGrassroots Luton

We are deeply saddened for what has happened at London Bridge. This is yet another cowardly attack on innocent people. We offer our heartfelt condolences and support to the families and friends of those who died and those who have survived with the painful scars of threat and terror.

We also join with the rest of our nation, in commending the bravery, dedication and promptness of the Police and Emergency Services in ensuring the safety of all and that care is provided to the needy.

Zafar Khan, Chair, Luton Council of Faiths said:

"Horrendously shocking attack has taken place again. Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families. Such barbaric attack is sickening and has become a real cancer. This cannot carry on in the name of religion and is at complete odds to religious values. Life is sacred and violence has no place in a civilised society. The purpose of the perpetrators of this outrage is to divide our communities. We must keep standing shoulder to shoulder with each-other, and send a strong message of defiance to the extremists, that we will not be divided".

In its statement, the Co-Chairs of the Inter Faith Network (IFN) for the UK and Moderators of the IFN Faith Communities Forum, said:

"Two weekends from now the anniversary of the murder of the late Jo Cox MP by an extremist of a different kind will be marked by the Great Get Together. People around the UK will be coming together in their communities in a spirit of neighbourliness to highlight and celebrate what unites. Let us seize that moment to strengthen our bonds of friendship and create new relationships and to remember and affirm that we have, in her words, “far more in common with each other than things that divide us”. 

It is heartening that Luton Borough Council, in partnership with range of community organisations, including Luton Council of Faiths, is organising THIS IS LUTON FESTIVAL on Sat 10th June from 12-5pm in Wardown Park and on the same day in the same place, later from 7pm onwards, Big Iftar will be jointly held with The Great Get Together.

We encourage people to come together on 10th June anytime and share the true spirit of common humanity and Luton's community. Our 'being together' is the only way by which we can defeat the objectives of extremists. Whereas acts of hatred or scapegoating in view of such attacks, will be giving extremists an easy victory. 

AuthorGrassroots Luton

Statement from Luton Borough Council:

Together with the town's faith communities, we have added our voices to the many millions around the world who strongly condemn last night’s attack at the Manchester Arena and offer their deepest sympathies to everyone affected by the tragedy.

llr Sian Timoney, Deputy Leader of Luton Council, said, "Together with all peace-loving people around the world we stand together with the families and friends of those brutally murdered and horrifically injured at Manchester Arena.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time of despair and grief. The fact that an occasion of fun and excitement for so many youngsters has been turned into a time of death and tragedy fills us with revulsion.

"Incidents such as this reinforce our need to speak out against hate, division and negativity. We continue to be proud of the hard work and commitment within our own communities who are endeavouring to live and work together in peace and harmony.

"In the midst of such barbarism we have seen and been moved by examples of courage and professionalism from the emergency services, as well as the generous outpouring of goodwill, practical support and defiance in the face of adversity from the people of Manchester.

"Their spirit demonstrates to the watching world that we are unbowed by those who seek to disrupt our values of peace and tolerance."

Rehana Faisal, representing both the Sunni and Luton Council of Mosques, said: "We are truly devastated by the senseless loss of lives in Manchester. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

"Whilst all life is precious, the deliberate targeting of children and young people is cruel beyond words and measure.

"As the country unites in its grief today, we hope and pray for the courage and wisdom within our communities to continue to build peace and tolerance for all."

Zafar Khan, Luton Council of Faiths chair, said: "We are deeply pained, distressed and grieved by the terror attack in Manchester.

"We condemn this evil act in the strongest terms. Such ongoing barbaric and sickening attacks, specifically targeted at young people, have no justification and are cowardly acts.

"Terrorism is profoundly at odds with the values of our faith’s traditions and has no place in the fabric of our society. Such attacks are designed to continue to divide people.

"Our heartfelt condolences go to the victims and families affected and to the people of Manchester. We ask people in Luton and across the country to come and stand together.

"We will continue to defy darkness with the light of our unity. Let us watch out for each other's wellbeing and connect hearts and minds to strengthen our collective hope that lies in our shared humanity."

Rev Mike Jones, vicar of Luton, had this response to the terrible news from Manchester: "We are deeply shocked and saddened by what has happened in Manchester. Our hearts go out to the families experiencing loss and trauma at this time. We are praying for the city of Manchester.

"We need to prevent the terrible actions of a few polluting the society of many. The energy created by actions like this need to be channeled into creative and loving engagement, rather than acts of retaliation, retribution which result in a downward spiral of intolerance and violence."

Book of condolences
A book of condolences is now open in the main reception area of the Town Hall. Those wishing to sign an online version can do so by clicking this link.

The Council, Luton Council of Faiths and the Sunni and Luton Council of Mosques have organised a vigil beside the War Memorial today (Tuesday 23) at 5.30pm and warmly invite residents to show their solidarity by attending.
The Union Jack is flying at half-mast above the Town Hall as a sign of respect.

AuthorGrassroots Luton

GRASSROOTS is pleased to invite you to 'We Are...', a new workshop being held as part of the UBUNTU workshop series. This is being delivered in partnership with Luton Council of Faiths, Cultural Kinetics and Near Neighbours. Come and join us as we:

  • Identify ways in which we can work alongside others towards common goals and values 
  • Discuss how we can navigate the complexities of intercultural and interfaith collaboration
  • Share ways in which we can overcome moments of conflict and misunderstanding 
  • Listen to real life experiences of how we can successfully foster and maintain trust and discourse
  • Examine how we can work in solidarity to create a more cohesive and harmonious society

We Are... will be taking place (with refreshments!) on:

Date: Monday 22nd May 2017
Time: 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Venue: Hindu Mandir, Hereford Road, Luton, LU4 0PS

For more information or to book please contact us using the details below. Places are limited and so must be reserved in advance. Parking is available in the car park within the grounds. 

Email: admingrassroots@btconnect.com
Phone: 01582 416946
You can also download the poster here!

AuthorGrassroots Luton

GRASSROOTS is excited to announce the second of it's UBUNTU workshops: Listen - Speak - Learn - Understand. This is being delivered in partnership with Luton Council of Faiths, Cultural Kinetics and Near Neighbours. In light of ongoing challenges within society being exacerbated by Brexit and increases in Hate Crime across the country, there is a strong fear that many communities may feel increasingly isolated and so withdraw further into themselves. This new workshop will enable participants to:

  • Discuss how we can best connect with others from different faiths and cultures
  • Learn to listen without defending - and speak without offending
  • Look to understand and discover how to adapt our communication styles to avoid conflict more effectively
  • Identify how we can best respond in different situations to overcome differences and build bridges with others

The new workshop takes place (with refreshments!) on:

  • Date: Wednesday 26th April 2017
  • Time: 6:30pm - 9:00pm
  • Venue: Beech Hill Methodist Church, 385A Dunstable Road, Luton, Beds, LU4 8BY

For more information please contact us using the details below. Places are limited and so must be reserved in advance. Parking is available at the rear of the church. Please contact us via:

  • Email: admingrassroots@btconnect.com
  • Phone: 01582 416946

You can also download the poster here!

AuthorGrassroots Luton


We, the Luton Council of Faiths (LCoF), a voluntary body of Luton’s different faiths and cultures, are deeply shocked by the Palm Sunday church bombings that killed 45 people in two cities in Egypt. We strongly condemn such act of barbarism, disrespect to the sanctity of a place of worship and attack on religious freedom.

In our world, increasingly being driven by hate and fear, on one hand it is distressing to see the intent of extremists to wage a sectarian war in Egypt by killing Christians but on the other hand it is heartening to note the heroic acts of Police Officers Ms Abdel-Aleem and Imad al-Rekaibi who died in the line of duty while preventing suicide bomber from entering the church in Alexandria. It is heartening to note the Muslim-Christian family solidarity and to see Muslims raising funding for victims and donating blood.

It is only such acts of kindness and mutual support that helps us stay firm and resolute in stopping the forces of division. We need to nurture values and good character in our communities to combat extremism while staying vigilant.  

Here in Luton, we saw hope when last month, following another cowardly terror attack on PC Keith Palmer and other innocent people in London Westminster, people from different cultural and faith backgrounds, had stood together in the Town Centre for a simple, hopeful and unmistakable message saying we stand together in solidarity to strengthen our collective hope that lies in our shared humanity.

As Luton Council of Faiths, we therefore reaffirm our hope, pledge and strong resolve, to continue playing an active role in creating an environment of understanding and respect amongst the many religious and culturally diverse communities, locally and where possibly influencing globally too.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed and injured in Egypt.

We call upon our Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters in Egypt to stand firm by the shared values and speak out against any violence by working together on the basis of our common values for increased understanding, cooperation and harmonious coexistence.

Download full statement here.

GRASSROOTS has also written to The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre UK which is based in Stevenage to also offer solidarity and support. This letter can be read here.

AuthorGrassroots Luton

We are deeply shocked, saddened and grieved by the violent, depraved and cowardly terror attack on London Westminster and innocent people last Wednesday. It has left the painful scar on Londoners, the entire country and many citizens of the world who were visiting our spectacular London city. 
We pass on our heartfelt and sincere condolences to the family and friends of  

  • PC Keith Palmer, who gave his life on duty defending Westminster
  • Teacher Aysha Frade who lost her life crossing Westminster Bridge to pick her children
  • US tourist, Kurt W. Cochran
  • Those innocent people, walking alongside Westminster wounded and many in critical condition.

Those who share similar evil and extremist ideologies, for their gains, will take advantage of such incidents to drive communities further apart.
As people from different faiths and cultures in Luton, we will not be driven apart. We commit to stay united by our common humanity and work for the common good while condemning such evil acts in strongest terms.

Our message is loud and clear – hate mongers, extremists and terrorists have no place in our civil and democratic society. We should all be united and vigilant towards such evildoers and support one another.
To stand together in solidarity, especially in such times of darkness and adversity, all are invited to join in on

Friday 24th March at 5:30pm outside Luton Town Hall, George Street, Luton, LU1 2BQ

to offer our condolences to those bereaved and to strengthen our collective hope that lies in our shared humanity.

Full statement can be downloaded here.

AuthorGrassroots Luton

GRASSROOTS is excited to announce a new FREE three-workshop programme titled 'UBUNTU - Sowing Seeds of Solidarity'. This is being delivered in partnership with Luton Council of Faiths, Cultural Kinetics and Near Neighbours.

In light of ongoing challenges within society being exacerbated by Brexit and increases in Hate Crime across the country, there is a strong fear that many communities may feel increasingly isolated and so withdraw further into themselves. Therefore, this programme has been designed to enable representatives to:

  • Go on a journey of self-discovery, our culture and who we are
  • Enter into dialogue with others and identify our shared goals and values
  • Encourage collaboration, support and acts of solidarity between each other
  • Learn how we can meet the challenges of division, intolerance and isolation 
  • Work towards a more cohesive and harmonious society

The first workshop takes place (with refreshments!) on:

  • Date: Thursday 6th April 2017
  • Time: 6:30pm - 9:00pm
  • Venue: High Town Methodist Church Front Hall, 47 High Town Road, Luton, Beds, LU2 0BW

For more information please contact us using the details below. Places are limited and so must be reserved in advance. Parking is available at the rear of the church. Please contact us via:

  • Email: admingrassroots@btconnect.com
  • Phone: 01582 416946

You can also download the poster here!

AuthorGrassroots Luton

The Women's World Day of Prayer originally began as separate days of prayer organised by individual Christian denominations in America in the mid 1800's. It has now become a global ecumenical day of prayer which is estimated to touch 3 million people in 170 countries and islands.

The service is prepared by women from a different country every year for global participants to follow. This year it was from the Philippines with a theme of "Am I being unfair to you?"

Luton had a preparation day for the service in January when there was a Bible Study, Circle Dancing, practice for the service and information about what life is like on the islands. Three services were held across Luton on the actual Women's World Day of Prayer on Friday 3rd March at Sacred Heart Church, The Salvation Army and The Holy Family Marsh Farm.

GRASSROOTS members were privileged to attend and have a Fairtrade stall at the Sacred Heart Church. It was a very special service that brought denominations together across Luton.

AuthorGrassroots Luton

GRASSROOTS is an ecumenical Christian charity based in Luton. For 25 years we have worked to build healthy relationships among all faiths, to promote fair trade, and challenge intolerance and extremism. We are supported by the mainstream churches in the region, by the Church Urban Fund through the Near Neighbours programme, and by other charitable funds. We work closely with Luton Council of Faiths and with Ghar se Ghar (Hindi/Urdu words meaning Home to Home), a women’s cooperative group. Further information about the charity is available at www.grassrootsluton.org.uk.

We are seeking a volunteer to join the Board of Trustees and act as Treasurer to replace the current treasurer who has served for 11 years. The key role of the Treasurer would be:

  • As a member of the Board of Trustees, to participate in the governance and general direction of the charity. There are three formal meetings a year (daytime) including the AGM.
  • To monitor the financial position and keep the trustees informed of risks.
  • To liaise with the auditors on the preparation of the annual accounts in accordance with charity accounting requirements.
  • To advise the trustees and staff on financial matters.

The retiring treasurer has offered to continue keeping the books for the time being, but would be willing to hand over to the new treasurer if appropriate. The records are kept on a simple Excel spreadsheet and are written up 3 - 4 times a year by a visit to the office.

The qualities we are particularly seeking are:

  • Sympathy with the aims and objectives of the charity.
  • Familiarity with the role of charity trustees.
  • Ability to communicate financial matters clearly to non-specialists.
  • General familiarity with the layout and content of charity accounts.

To apply, or for an informal discussion, please contact the Co-ordinator, David Jonathan (Johny) at jgrassroots@btconnect.com or 01582 416946, or the current treasurer, Gordon Slater, at slater_gordon@yahoo.co.uk (please note there is an underscore after "slater") or 020 7262 9954.

AuthorGrassroots Luton

Come and celebrate diversity and culture with complementary foods from different cuisines! This event is supported by Near Neighbours and organised by Community Cohesion Champions - volunteer cadets of Bedfordshire Police.

  • Date: Saturday 11th March 2017
  • Time: 1pm to 4pm
  • Venue: Dallow Learning Community Centre, 234 Dallow Road, Luton, LU1 1TB

Entertainment will include a Polish Choir, Zumba, Line Dancing and much more!

You can book directly online at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/celebration-of-community-and-culture-tickets-32156110793

For more information please contact:

  • Email: community.cohesion@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk 
  • Phone: 01582 394016

You can also download the poster here!


AuthorGrassroots Luton

Join us for an insightful evening of conversation and sharing about the Abrahamic faiths, their differences and similarities.  

  • Date: Thursday 30th March 2017 
  • Time: Refreshments at 7:00pm - Event Begins at 7:30pm to 9:00pm
  • Venue: Holy Ghost RC Parish Church, 33 Westbourne Road, Luton LU4 8JD 

(Parking is available within the premises)

For seating and catering purposes, spaces must be reserved in advance. To book please contact Ciaran O’Brien on:

  • Tel: 01582 416946
  • Email: admingrassroots@btconnect.com 

You can also download the full event poster here!

AuthorGrassroots Luton

“Don’t feed exploitation. Choose Fairtrade – because farmers deserve a fair deal” is the 2017 Fairtrade Fortnight slogan. The Luton Town Fairtrade Steering Group commemorated Fairtrade Fortnight on Tuesday 28th February 2017 at Luton Town Hall. The Council Chamber was almost full to its capacity with people from different faiths and cultural backgrounds and people of all ages with 25 pupils from St Joseph’s Catholic and Ramridge Primary Schools. In her opening comments, Cllr Jacqueline Burnett, the Luton Borough Council portfolio holder for Fairtrade, welcomed everyone and expressed the strong commitment of the local authority in continuing to promote and support Fairtrade across the town and into all its future planning. Attendees felt encouraged as they were reminded of the highlights from the journey of the “Making Luton a Fairtrade Town” campaign during the last 10 years and the on-going commitment by the Grassroots Programme and Luton Council of Faiths. It was heart-warming to note how positively Luton was mentioned by the then Director of the Fairtrade Foundation in her speech at the National Fairtrade Supporters’ Conference in 2012, when Luton was given the Most Outstanding Achievement Award in all categories by the Fairtrade Foundation.

Luton was again chosen this year for a producer tour by the Fairtrade Foundation. Luton Town was privileged to have Mr Patrick Kaberia Muthaura as the guest of honour. Patrick is a Fairtrade Tea Producer from Kenya. His life story left everyone feeling inspired to support Fairtrade. The little extra we pay, he said, helps farmers live their lives with some dignity and pride. “We do not want your charity or aid. We want you to support our business, so that we can help ourselves. We want you to trade fairly, which does justice to our labour and produce and not exploit it.” Patrick also raised concerns about climate change where farmers are already living through various crises. He also spoke about the future of wholesome agriculture and how we can encourage young people to join farming.

“People have become educated, but have not become human” said the late Pakistani humanitarian giant Abdul Sattar Edhi, who was honoured last week by Google. St Joseph’s Catholic School Children gave a wonderful presentation trying to address this challenge on how the school is preparing them by helping them to engage with such issues of common well-being. This was followed by Harriet Kelsall’s passionate talk on Fairtrade Gold. Harriet is one of the most respected bespoke designers and business trailblazers, multi-award winner and business woman, working in the UK jewellery industry. Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery started in 1998 and since then it has grown to be one of the most respected UK Fairtrade jewellery companies with many national and international awards to its name, most recently the 2016 national Bridal Jeweller of the year award.

Patrick also gave a presentation for a school assembly at Ramridge Primary school where he answered pupils’ questions. He visited a classroom and was very touched and inspired by the children's work and learning on justice and peace issues.

When asked why we should support Fairtrade, we remembered Tookie Bowman, a Banana producer from the Windward Islands who visited Luton a few years ago.  He had said “when you buy Fairtrade you also buy a little bit of humanity!”

AuthorGrassroots Luton

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!

AuthorGrassroots Luton