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New Shop Front

Since it could be a while until you get to see it in person, we thought that we’d have a virtual reveal of our newly updated Rainbow Turtle shop front!

This work was completed just before the current government restrictions came into effect by the lovely Gerry and his workers, and we were so pleased and grateful to receive grants from Renfrewshire Council to pay for this work to get Rainbow Turtle looking sharp again.

We hope to see you all in the shop again very soon!

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Happy Easter

Happy Easter from all of us at Rainbow Turtle. It was a very strange one this year, but we hope you all managed to celebrate it with family or friends in some way. Easter weekend would usually be a really busy weekend in the shop, with everyone rushing in to buy the last of our Fair Trade eggs and cards, but sadly this year the Rainbow Turtle shop remains closed. We did manage to sell lots of our eggs before we shut up shop, and the few that we do have left will be donated to good causes in the local area. As one of our wise volunteers said to me recently: Easter is a moveable feast and we’ll celebrate it properly when we can.

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Rainbows as Hope

At Rainbow Turtle, we’ve always seen our name and logo as forming part of our message of hope for the world around us:

And so it has been very uplifting to see rainbows become a symbol of solidarity, of being alone together, during the coronavirus outbreak. People all over the country are displaying them in their windows, as the BBC has reported, and it’s become a fun game for children (and adults!) to spot as many as they can while getting their daily exercise.

Our shop manager and education officer, Gemma, who is self-isolating at home in Glasgow, has spotted lots in her area and added her own (very non-artistic!) rainbow to her living room window with a friendly face, which has been drawing lots of attention and waves from the local children.

We can get through this together and we’ll see you all back in our rainbow-filled shop very soon. Keep safe!

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Fair Trade Education At Home

With most schools around Scotland and the UK now closing indefinitely, many parents and carers will now be in the position of teaching their children in a way that they haven’t before. So while schools will be providing classroom materials to make sure that the important basics of literacy and numeracy are being covered, you might want to also consider expanding your child’s knowledge of the wider world by talking about fair trade with them.

They may have already covered this at school during the recent Fairtrade Fortnightcelebrations, in which case they may be able to educate you! The Fairtrade Foundation have loads of resources on their website, with everything from activities for very young children to projects for older learners. 

The IDEAS network are also a great source of information and learning resources on fair trade and global citizenship more widely. Their Signposts website has lots to get you started.

Our own Education Officer, Gemma, will also be more than happy to answer any questions you might have, or point you in the right direction for further resources. You can contact her here.

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We’re Still Open!

Fair trade toilet paper and kitchen rolls
Eco cleaning products
Hand made soaps

As of Wednesday 18th March we are still open, with our normal opening hours of 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Obviously the situation with Coronavirus is changing minute to minute, so this might not always be the case and we might have to close with short or no notice, but for the moment we still have supportive customers and we think we can continue to provide a useful service for our community. Cleanliness has been stepped up in the shop to protect our customers and our volunteers, who we are so grateful to for keeping us going in this challenging time.

We also (for now!) still have stock of toilet roll, handwash, and soap. We’ll also be receiving a delivery of our refillable Ecover handwash tomorrow, and rice and pasta soon. Continuing to shop with us, rather than clearing out your local supermarkets, will help our small business to survive this difficult time as well as ensuring that our fair trade producers don’t lose their much-needed income.

If you’re interested in our fairly traded and eco products, but can’t get into our shop, let us know, maybe we can deliver to you.

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Sugar Producers’ Visit

Today we were lucky enough to have a visit from Malawian sugar producers, Nduzani and Aubrey, organised by the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, in conjunction with ourselves and the Renfrewshire Fair Trade Steering Group.

First, Nduzani and Aubrey visited Bargarran Primary School in Erskine to speak to pupils from Bargarran, St John Bosco and Rashielea about all of the work that goes into growing sugar cane and how the support of the Fairtrade Foundation helps them to grow their business and support their communities. All three schools had lots and lots of questions for the sugar producers, covering everything from housing, climate change and the weather in Malawi to how to defend your crops from snakes and elephants!

After our visit to Bargarran, Nduzani and Aubrey were then whisked over to the Rainbow Turtle shop to have a look at (and a taste of!) our selection of Divine chocolate, which their sugar cane is used to make. It was a very enjoyable and very informative day!

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Rainbow Turtle Ceilidh

Saturday night’s ceilidh, to mark Fairtrade Fortnight and the closing of the Roots Festival, was a huge success. About 80 people of all ages came along to the event at The Wynd Centre in Paisley to listen to the fantastic music by renowned ceilidh band, Haud Yer Lugs.

The ceilidh was such a success that it managed to raise over £700 for Rainbow Turtle. Thanks to Roisin for the photos. Note that people were moving so quickly around the dance floor that they were just a blur!

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Volunteers’ Tasting Event

As part of our efforts to work more closely with Paisley-based fair trade organisation, JTS, we recently hosted a tasting event for Rainbow Turtle volunteers in our Paisley shop. JTS import and distribute fair trade products from around the world, many of which are on sale in our shop on Gauze Street.

Tracy Mitchell from JTS brought a selection of Eswatini jams and chutneys and Ukuva sauces. She talked about the difference that we make to the lives of the producers when we buy their products. We learned of the difficulties that these small producers have in making and distributing their foods, often from land locked countries. We heard how JTS has to overcome complex logistical problems from international banking systems, transport issues and UK health and safety regulations. More importantly we were able to taste these delicious foods lightly spread on oat cakes and gluten free crackers.

My favourite definitely has to be the Ukuva Peri Peri Sauce mixed in with cottage cheese (or for those on a dairy free diet mixed in with an oat cream cheese) on an oat cake. Mmm… mmm… Also available was Ukuva’s Chermoula Sauce which is currently JTS‘ flavour of the month and profiled in one of our latest blogs.