Welcome to the 2nd part of the Liz Cotton interview. Liz talks about her decision to move on from Rainbow Turtle, what she did after she left the organisation and what she is doing now in the furthest north of Scotland.
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Welcome to our very first interview in our new podcast series, Rainbow Turtle Rebooted. To mark the beginning of Fair Trade Fortnight 2021 we’re bringing you the first part of a two part interview with founder and former director, Liz Cotton.
Liz has had an interesting and successful life which culminated for us in the creation of Rainbow Turtle, the fair trade shop and charity in Paisley, Scotland. Sit back and enjoy the first half of her interview with Colum Scriven where she talks about her early influences and what led her to open our fair trade shop in Gauze Street…
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Welcome to the new Rainbow Turtle Rebooted podcast. Through our podcasts we would like to bring you interviews and news about fair trade. This episode is a short preview to our first series and introduces you to who we are and what we will be offering.
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Rainbow Turtle is a small non-profit organisation, based in Paisley, Scotland. We provide a delightful shop in Gauze Street, where you can buy fair trade teas and coffees, food, cards and gifts. We also offer an education service to local schools and church groups. We view our young people as the purchasers and decision makers of the future.
We welcome Alex, our rainbow lion, to our Christmas window. He exemplifies this year’s theme of hope, diversity and inclusivity. Alex was kindly decorated by the pupils of Mary Russell School in Paisley with support from their art teacher, Miss Ferguson.
Alex’s coat of rainbow colours symbolises hope, which is the message of Christmas and much needed at this time. The rainbow has also been adopted by the LGBT community and supporters of the NHS.
We wanted to represent diversity by including a turtle (unfortunately we couldn’t find a rainbow one!) with Alex, our lion. Around the world there are many people who will struggle to make it a happy Christmas this year. We wanted to acknowledge that it is the diversity of beliefs, races of people and sexualities that makes up our world. It is only by working together and supporting the poorest members of our humanity can we make it a better place.
Finally, we wanted to represent inclusivity as the lion and the turtle getting on together. In the bible an image of heaven is the lion lying down with the lamb (or in our case the turtle!) For us at Rainbow Turtle selling fair trade produce, and helping producers in developing countries, helps us to come closer to that image of paradise.
If that is too deep for you, just come to Paisley and admire the creativity of the MRS pupils and admire our Christmas window. And, of course, buy our wonderful produce and crafts.
Our newly decorated lion, has arrived in the shop ready for our grand opening on Saturday 12th December. Thanks to Miss Ferguson, the art teacher, and the students of Mary Russell School, Alex (as the pupils have named him) has had a complete makeover. Resplendent in his rainbow coat of many colours, Alex will adorn our Christmas window to highlight this year’s theme of inclusivity and diversity.
The pupils have included a number of themes into their design of Alex. Firstly, the rainbow patterns covering him. We now have a rainbow lion to go with our rainbow theme of the shop. To us rainbows are symbols of hope and are about diversity and including people from all nations, differing ages, beliefs, and sexualities.
On one side of Alex is a rainbow coloured tree, apparently this is because trees are made up of different components. On the top are painted the symbols of the fair trade movement, which is about supporting producers in developing countries by buying their produce at fair prices and allowing them to work in decent conditions.
On the other side of Alex is our logo, the rainbow turtle. Turtles are almost self sufficient because they carry their house with them. However, when they’re upside down they are completely vulnerable to attack, which is a bit like our fair trade producers. The fact that the pupils have included all these elements in the design gives me so much hope in our young people for the future. With attitudes like these our world will be in a good place.
The pupils of Mary Russell School have been hard at work repainting our lion in readiness for displaying him in our Christmas window. We’re hoping to have him on display when we reopen our shop on Saturday 12th December.
His decor may not be the only thing that will have changed about him, he may also have a new name…! Any ideas what it could be?
We were delighted that the Paisley Daily Express wrote up this lovely article about Mary Russell winning the prestigious fair trade award at the annual Scottish Fair Trade Forum’s award ceremony. We’d also like to thank them for kindly giving us permission to share it.
The pupils of Mary Russell school, under the guidance of their art teacher, Miss Ferguson, have started smartening up Rio the lion. Our hope is that they will have him ready for the beginning of December for our new Christmas window.
What do think of his new rainbow mane? We enclose a picture of how he looked when he came to us to compare with how he is starting to shape up.
Please keep supporting Rainbow Turtle. We hope to keep trading, even if we have to shut the shop during lockdown, by restarting our click and collect service. Click here for more information about our click and collect service.
Rio the lion was recently off on his travels, but where was he going, I hear you ask? (Note, lions are not covered by the current travel restrictions, since there is no evidence that they are carriers of the covid 19 virus.)
Rio’s been looking a wee bit tired lately and he arrived at Mary Russell school in Paisley today where he is to undergo a makeover. The pupils of the school are going to redecorate him for this year’s Rainbow Turtle Christmas window.
Again, I hear you ask, what has a lion got to do with Christmas and fair trade? Our theme this year will be about diversity, and how much more diverse can you get with a green lion and a rainbow turtle?
Watch this space for further exciting episodes from the life of the far-travelled Rio the lion.
We heard that one of our friends is returning to Rainbow Turtle and wondered if you could guess who it is?
No, it’s not our former education officer, Josh Brown. Nor is our previous media officer, Ross Beattie. Neither is it one time chair of trustees, Jim Rutherford.
Yes, you’ve got it, it’s Rio the lion, who adorned our shop in 2016 during the time of the Paisley 2021 bid. Since then Rio has been staying at Wallace Primary School (who had also decorated him at the time). Wallace Primary have very kindly offered him back to Rainbow Turtle and we were delighted to accept. We’re hoping to give Rio a makeover and get him ready for our Christmas shop window. Watch this space for more news about him.