Charity, Education, Shop

Our 20th year to heaven!

Our anniversary logo

To paraphrase a line from Dylan Thomas’ poem, Poem In October, August 31st is our 20th anniversary of being a shop and charity in Paisley, Renfrewshire. We have had an incredible journey over these last 20 years and it’s amazing that we’re still here.

We started back in 2002, when four friends – Liz Cotton, Phil Cotton, Kate Cox and Alison Patrick – had this exciting idea to move from running stalls in church halls to open a fair trade shop in Paisley. Those early years were about stepping out in trust, not knowing what the outcome would be.

We went through the heady years of growth, when we had a warehouse in Paisley and shared it with JTS, the importer and distributer of WFTO foods. Then our periods of financial difficulty when we looked like closing and had to pull back to just the shop again. Days when we were deep in our overdraft and didn’t have enough to pay the staff the next day. There was the impact of Covid when we didn’t know if we’d open again…

And yet we are still here, selling fair trade goods from our delightful Paisley shop and educating the young people of the west of Scotland about fair trade. We’ve welcomed rice farmers from Africa, honey producers from Guatemala, clothing makers from India, and who can forget Foncho our banana farmer from Colombia? We’ve even helped in making Paisley a fair trade town and Renfrewshire a fair trade zone. Last year we hosted Mauro Pereira from Brazil, a delegate at the COP26 conference in Glasgow who gave an impassioned talk on our podcast.

With all our ups and downs, recently one volunteer described Rainbow Turtle as the Miracle Shop. It’s been a constant theme throughout our existence, that when we’ve been at our lowest, and everything is bleak, something miraculous happens to revitalise us.

Along with our miracles we wouldn’t be here without the assistance of so many people and organisations. Primarily we’re grateful to our volunteers who bring their smiles and their enthusiasm to the shop. We particularly remember those who have passed away and are no longer with us. Many’s the time we’ve had positive feedback for the helpfulness and friendliness of a particular volunteer.

RT staff and volunteers at our fair trade meal in 2016

We’d never have started without the vision of Liz, Phil, Alison and Kate and the help of the Paisley Methodist Central Hall, who kindly offered us accommodation on a very low rent. We’re grateful to all the schools and church groups who’ve supported us by ordering fair trade stalls or inviting us in for talks and conferences.

Finally, we can’t forget the people of Paisley and the west of Scotland who’ve embraced us and shopped at 7 Gauze Street. It’s by buying our fair trade goods that we can help farmers and producers in developing countries. Through them we create this global bridge between Paisley and other parts of the world. The tiny actions of individuals here make a massive difference to others elsewhere.

Our delightful Paisley shop with shop manager and volunteers

What’s next? To celebrate our anniversary, we’ll be holding a cake cutting in the shop on the 31st August 2022, and a ceilidh (but of course!) in the Paisley Methodist Central Hall on Saturday 3rd September. Watch this space for more details and how to book for these events.

Education, Shop, Uncategorised

Rainbow Turtle in Love Paisley magazine

The new summer edition of Love Paisley, the magazine produced by Paisley First, featured an article on Rainbow Turtle on page 11. It explains why we believe that fair trade is so important and how Paisley’s past links well with what we do. Click on the image below and it should take you straight to page 11. In order to read the article you’ll probably need to maximise the screen (there is a little frame icon in the bottom right of the magazine window. Alternatively, you can read a fuller version of the article if you click here. Enjoy!

Education, Fair Trade Fortnight, Shop

Fair Trade Fortnight Tastings

Volunteers, Steph Mayo (left) and Clotilde Rayon (right), with education officer, Linda Okhuoya-Ologe (centre)

To celebrate Fair Trade Fortnight, Rainbow Turtle is hosting a series of tastings of fair trade goodies and home baking outside its Paisley shop in Gauze Street. If you come down to the shop between 10am and 2pm on Saturday 26th February, Friday 4th or Saturday 5th March you’ll be able to meet some of our wonderful volunteers and taste the delights of some of the products we sell in the shop. The home baking includes ingredients made with fair trade sugar, chocolate, olive oil and even beer bread mix! Also, on offer is fair trade coffee and hot chocolate.

The tasting is free but we also hope that you’ll like the products or ingredients so much that you’ll want to buy some for yourself inside the shop. Failing that, come and chat to our volunteers and staff at the stall, they’d love to meet you. Also, you’ll be taking part in one of our events to mark Fair Trade Fortnight where we remember the producers in developing countries and everyone that makes fair trade possible.

Our thanks go to all the staff and volunteers who prepared the stall, cooked the home baking, looked after the stall and encouraged passers by to try the food.

Education, Shop

Jenipher Sambazi video

Following on from Jenipher Sambazi’s talk at our COP26 event, and our recent news item about Jenipher’s Coffee being stocked by Rainbow Turtle, we thought you’d like to hear more about her and the amazing work that she does in Uganda. Jenipher is an inspiring person who talks about how fair trade has changed the perception of women in Uganda. She also shares what she is doing on her coffee farm to combat the effects of climate change. Click on the video below, sit back with your cup of Jenipher’s Coffee, and relax…

Please note that Rainbow Turtle will be reopening for business on Saturday 8th Jan at 10am. You can not only buy her delicious coffee but you can peruse our extensive stock of fair trade drinks, food, crafts and gift cards.

Shop

Jenipher’s Coffee on sale at Rainbow Turtle

Jenipher’s Coffee

We recently met Jenipher Wettaka at Rainbow Turtle’s COP26 event. She spoke about the coffee that she grows on the slopes of Mt Elgon in eastern Uganda. We’re delighted to say that we’re the only retailer of her delicious coffee in Scotland. Come and buy her coffee in our Paisley Shop for your own kitchen or make it a very different gift for that coffee lover in your life.

You can find out more about Jenipher in this short video clip that played in her talk to us in Paisley back in November. Look out also for our next podcast episode where we replay the whole of that talk.

Education, Shop

Global Hands Working Together

Rainbow Turtle’s Smithhills Street window for COP26

As part of Paisley’s Windows on Cop 26 Illuminated window art trail, Rainbow Turtle was fortunate to have its Smithhills Street window beautifully decorated by artists, Rebecca Johnstone and Tzaritsa Asante. Working on a theme of Global Hands Working Together it reflects the different hands that need to work together to save our environment.

Paisley First and Renfrewshire Leisure teamed up together to create an art trail through Paisley that includes the Rainbow Turtle shop wind. They wanted to link the COP26 discussions happening in Glasgow with the climate issues that were important to the Paisley business owners. For more information on the art trail click here.

Rebecca Johnstone (aka Dainty Dora) is a writer, artist and designer creating bold and colourful hand-drawn pattern designs and illustrations – such as the iconic Paisley Pattern – to create her unique ‘Pattern Bomb Prints’, design calendars and stand-alone illustrations. More about her work can be found here.

Tzaritsa Asante is a sustainable fashion designer from Scotland/Ghana. More about her work can be found here. Tzaritsa will also be speaking at Rainbow Turtle’s COP26 event, “Climate change & fair trade: Behind the scenes” on Friday 12th November at 6pm in the Life Church in Paisley. More information on our event can be found here.

Shop

Saying goodbye to Gemma Elliott and Margaret Bell

Rainbow Turtle staff and volunteers saying goodbye to Gemma and Margaret

Our volunteers and staff turned out in force today to say cheerio to our shop manager, Gemma Elliott (3rd from left), and long time volunteer Margaret Bell (pictured centre at the top of the photo).

Gemma actually left us back in March during the height of lockdown but we were never able to thank her then in person. She saw us through a difficult period when not only had we had a change in personnel but we were struggling financially. The shop often looked bare because we couldn’t afford to stock it. Then came successive lockdowns when we couldn’t open the shop and sales were badly affected. Yet, Gemma steadily steered us through these various challenges and left before we could benefit from various grants that allowed us to reopen with a fully stocked and reorganised shop.

Gemma kindly sent us the photo of a double rainbow as she left Paisley, saying that it was quite fitting seeing it after saying goodbye to Rainbow Turtle. Thanks again, Gemma, for all your hard work and all the best in the next stage of your career.

And cheerio to Margaret Bell

We also said cheerio to long term volunteer, Margaret Bell (second left). Margaret has been involved with Rainbow Turtle from the very beginning when the shop first opened back in 2002. Margaret had a real gift for making connections with customers and people still come in asking for her. She had a great reputation as a salesperson and many’s the time a politician would be in for a photo shoot with one of our products and Margaret would say to them afterwards, “I hope you’re going to buy that now!”

Margaret has moved close to the sea to enjoy a well earned rest and retirement.

Shop, Uncategorised

Talking GLOVES Part 1

We are talking Fair Trade gloves with an added, added bonus!

NOT ONLY do the gloves already wash away and weed out unfair trade BUT… they are also of a seriously high standard…

How do I know? I have washed my fair share of dishes and ended up with my fair share of wet hands, despite always wearing rubber gloves! I have a large family and have never owned an electric dishwasher. With a house full of human ones (not electric), we have, until now, gone through too many pairs of washing-up gloves. Always the right hand, falling foul of a sharp knife or whatever secret predator lies in the bubbles, defying rubber gloves.

No longer! At Rainbow Turtle I have purchased a pair of Traidcraft’s wonder gloves and at an extremely modest price too. Note the singular: a pair, still going strong, many dishes and dry hands later!

As if that is not joy enough, we have customers on a waiting list for the marvellous gardening gloves. They have never known such good gardening gloves!

Do not despair, if your hands are smaller than large, as they are also available in medium.

The secret to these marvellous gloves? – aside from the fantastic price, quality assurance and practical way to purchase and support Fair Trade – is a supply chain that starts in a region in southern Sri Lanka and in Laos. It supports the farmers who grow the rubber trees and tap them for latex.

Join us. Shout out loud and clear about this extremely practical way to support Fair Trade. I invite you to be a voice for washing away and weeding out unfair trade, whilst remaining clean and dry.

If you want to give the gloves a try, pop along to Rainbow Turtle and buy, buy, buy…

Education, Shop

BrickLive Animal Paradise

Here’s looking at you! FREE FUN!

Turtles and tortoises are endangered animals. Until 15 August 2021, there is one for you to find in Paisley ( – let us know whether it is a tortoise or a turtle?) There are 15 animals in total.

One of the species, wanders about Paisley. Rainbow Turtle has just hosted the wandering, endangered visitor – Ginger the Giraffe. He is the only animal not made of bricks and goes out on tour as part of https://paisleyfirst.com/ BrickLive Animal Paradise trail: the local trail showcasing endangered animals of the world, represented in bricks, and placed all around the centre of Paisley.

You can pick up a leaflet in our Rainbow Turtle shop – and other outlets in town. FIND all of the animals, enter the PRIZE DRAW and you may WIN! FUN for all of the family and FREE.

Ginger is not so easy to find because he moves around every few days. Now you see him, now you don’t… To find him, look for the clues online @Paisleyfirst, or in the Piazza Shopping Centre, Paisley Centre, or at the Paisley First office on the corner of County Square and Gilmour street.

There are serious messages amongst this fun. By identifying the endangered species, we can start out on our road of learning to be protectors, rather than predators and do our bit to help to save these hugely important animals. By taking the trail, we find our own local treasures: our local businesses, helping you to Live Life Local and to Love Paisley – they also need preserving from the threat of becoming endangered.

Let us help everyone and everything.

On the theme of turtles: Rainbow Turtle shop, located at 7 Gauze Street, Paisley, PA1 1EP, has push along turtles, turtle puzzles, turtle bags, nodding head turtles (large and small), turtle notebooks, turtle incense holders and a huge variety of other toys, gifts, and goodies galore…

To find the turtle made of bricks (or is it a tortoise?), pick up a leaflet and embark on the BrickLive Animal Paradise trail!

Education, Shop

JOIN IN! Become a FRIEND of RAINBOW TURTLE and SUPPORT SCOTLAND

Rainbow Turtle is a charity that supports Fair Trade, and ethical, sustainable living. It is a beacon for Paisley, a Fair Trade town, for Renfrewshire, a Fair Trade council and for all of Scotland, a Fair Trade nation. JOIN IN, become a supporter and WIN for inclusive economic growth, fair wages and better working and living conditions!

Fair Trade works to transform trade, to achieve justice, equity and sustainability for people and the planet. It matters! You can help us to spread the word from as little as £12 / year for membership of Rainbow Turtle.

Every new membership helps us to spread the word that trade can be fair and ethical. We use the money to educate the public via our shop, visits to organisations, schools and churches, stalls, and through direct work with producers and wholesalers.

You can Gift Aid your membership.

You are very welcome to get in touch / visit us TODAY and EVERY DAY!

  • Phone our shop/office on 0141 887 1881.
  • Visit our shop at 7 Gauze Street, Paisley, PA1 1EP.
  • You can keep up to date by subscribing to our monthly newsletter. Clicking on the link will take you to an online form. Please note that when you complete it you will be sent a confirmation email. If you haven’t received the email within 5 minutes check your spam or junk mail folder.
  • Or you can email us using our contact form: https://www.rainbowturtle.org.uk/contact-us/

Tell your friends, family and colleagues – they are all WELCOME