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Happy 2021!

It’s a new year but, with most of Scotland in a strict lockdown, we’re not sure it’s quite a happy one yet. But there are still rainbows to come after the rain! As we suspected might end up being the case, we can’t yet give a date for Rainbow Turtle reopening, but as soon as we know, you’ll know. Keep an eye on our social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) or sign up for our monthtly newsletter to stay in the loop!

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Merry Christmas!

2020 has been a difficult year, and we have only got through it thanks to the huge amount of support and encouragement from you: our supporters, customers, friends, and volunteers. Thank you!

The new year will kick off with a little uncertainty, with Rainbow Turtle now closed and most of Scotland in a level 4 lockdown, but we’re confident that we can get 2021 off to a great start, even if that does have to be a little bit later than normal!

We hope that you all have a wonderful, if unusual, Christmas and that your new year is a good one. Merry Christmas from all at Rainbow Turtle!

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Hope, Diversity and Inclusivity

Alex, the star of our new Christmas window

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.

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He’s here!

Alex, our rainbow lion

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.

Mary Russell art teacher, Miss Ferguson, saying goodbye to Alex

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.

Picture courtesy of Mary Russell School

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.

Picture courtesy of Mary Russell School

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.

Picture courtesy of Mary Russell School
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Reopening Saturday 12th

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement yesterday that Renfrewshire can exit level 4 restrictions, we will be reopening Rainbow Turtle at 10am on Saturday 12th December!

To allow our lovely customers as much Christmas shopping time as possible, we have extended our opening hours from the 12th until we close on Christmas Eve.

We look forward to seeing you back in the shop!

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Who Made My Clothes? Course

With lots more time being spent at home, many of us have turned to online learning as a way to not only fill time and entertain us, but also broaden our horizons when the world can feel so small. Our Education Officer, Gemma, has been trying out some Fair Trade focused courses and recommends the Who Made My Clothes? course, run by Fashion Revolution and the University of Exeter on Future Learn.

The course runs over three weeks, with learning and exercises to be done in your own time, and is broken down into sections dedicated to being curious, finding out, and doing something. Fashion Revolution and their Who Made My Clothes? campaign came about following the Rana Plaza tragedy, in which over 1000 garment workers lost their lives. They fight for better conditions for fashion workers, a goal which is shared across the Fair Trade movement.

This course is very accessible, providing plenty of useful information with videos and reading, but with more of a focus on taking action (as a consumer and Fair Trade supporter) than some other courses which can be quite information heavy and theoretical.

Fashion Revolution ask you to ask retailers “who made my clothes?” and, as this course shows, often there are no simple answers and no guarantee of workers’ rights. This is an action that we can apply outside of the fashion industry – ask your local supermarket “who grew my coffee?” or “who picked my bananas?” and you might be surprised at their answers.

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Our lion is nearly ready…

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?

reject black friday
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Green is the New Black

Black Friday, a day known for excessive consumerism and waste, approaches and while we can’t suggest shopping ethically with us instead right now – as we’re sadly closed under Level 4 Coronavirus restrictions – we’ll be supporting Traidcraft’s annual Reject Black Friday campaign.

We believe in doing our best to live in ways that support the environment and people, rejecting mass-consumerism that often relies on taking advantage of workers and contributing to environmental disaster.

Think about where you shop this Christmas, and consider whether you can wait a few weeks to get something ethically sound, rather than opting for mindless speed and volume.