Author Archives: Tony Thornby

Wycombe Community festival – Saturday 13th July 2013

Dear All,

After last year?s successful event Wycombe Community Festival will be taking place on Saturday 13th July 2013 at 12pm-8pm on The Rye. Please register your interest if you would like to participate this year.

Best Regards
Wycombe Community Festival Team

Poster for the 2103 Wycombe Community Festival

Festival organised by the ex-St Vincents community in High Wycombe

Meeting of 16th April 2013


Minutes of meeting:   16th April 2013

Micklefield Library, Micklefield Road

Those present:

Mike King                   Sheila Stevenson (SMS)

Sheena King               Tony Thornby

Sarah Moroz

Matt Knight joined the meeting part way through.

Apologies: Amy Ellingham, Bob Smith

MK – since the last meeting, there has been a change of leadership at the council. Richard Scott has replaced Alex Collingwood.

MK – Hugh McCarthy is now deputy leader and is no longer head of Planning and Sustainability. MK has drafted a letter to Hugh McCarthy (this was read out) in which a request was made for a meeting to be arranged with our group. Mk will re-draft and e-mail round to the group, taking into account any comments.

TT – Hugh McCarthy seemed personally on our side at the full council meeting when we asked our questions.

SM – has asked AE for sources of info on justifying Fairtrade sugar.

TT- another point we have been tackled on is that we would be imposing Fairtrade with no alternative choices (which is not true). They also raised the issue of free trade versus Fairtrade.

MK – Fairtrade allows more competition because it enables more small-holders to have a share in the market.

MK – we need to make contact with Witney and find out how they managed to get their motion through their Town Council.

SM – we could take a car and several of us could go to one of their meetings. SM will contact them to ask if this is possible and get a list of dates.

TT – it may be a good idea to talk to a group of local farmers and get them on our side. Also, we could ask Hugh McCarthy if Wycombe Council have any other reasons for being against our campaign.

SM – we could perhaps hold a public meeting event with a panel of people who are able to argue the case for Fairtrade (Witney held an event like this).

MKn – his relative was a campaigning director for Traidcraft for many years and lives in Bicester and would probably be willing to speak.

There was a discussion re: what we could do for World Fair Trade day this year (11th May).

SM – we could approach Vidya to see if she is willing to host a Fairtrade promotion as discussed previously and have a letter to council that people could sign supporting our campaign.

MKn – we could perhaps make it more eye-catching eg. a large tree that people could sign. Maybe they could sign on banana-shaped post-it notes. Or we could have a large banana for people to sign. There could be one banana to represent each supporting grouping eg. local businesses, schools, voluntary groups etc.

SMS – will try to get some large pieces of yellow card and create some large bananas. She will take one to the event at the Environment Centre on 1st May.

MK and TT will get together to develop the Wycombe for Fairtrade website.

Next meeting: Tuesday 21st May 7.30pm

Meeting of 12th March 2013


Minutes of meeting: 12th March 2013

Micklefield Library, Micklefield Road

Those present:

Mike King, Sarah Moroz, Sheena King, Bob Smith, Matt Knight, Tony Thornby

SM/SK – reported back on their meeting at Local Roots with Vidya and Oliver O’Dell/Gemma from the High Wycombe Bid Company. Oliver and Gemma were focussed on wanting us to justify why Wycombe should be a Fairtrade Town and what’s in it for the town’s businesses. They were interested in TT’s business connections.

We need to send them some information about the 5 criteria which need to be met in order to become a FT Town and the listings of retailers etc in High Wycombe which we have complied.

TT – he is a member of the Central Business Hub networking group, who are all supportive of our campaign.

MKn – asked a question re: petitions in general at the full council meeting on 28th Feb. Also, after the meeting he spoke with Hugh McCarthy who said that he had taken the FT Town idea to both his group (Conservatives) and to the Town Committee and had met with resistance on both fronts. However, Hugh said that he was personally supportive. The resistance could be because some Conservative councillors represent rural communities and may think that Fairtrade is competition with this.

BS – sent MKn’s drafted e-mail to his 3 local councillors and got some encouraging response – one of the councillors said they would discuss our campaign with their colleagues and see if we can present our case to the next Town Committee meeting.

It was decided to try to organise a meeting with Alex Collingwood/Hugh McCarthy before the next Town Committee meeting. This would perhaps involve MK, TT and AE and we could also invite Vidya.

MK – mentioned again about the possibility of contacting the Witney Fairtrade group to see how their campaign achieved success. This is David Cameron’s constituency.

SM – will try to communicate with them.

TT – showed an Open University article about free trade. He may send it to Alex Collingwood in the run-up to a meeting with him.

MK – asked what we should be doing to support World Fair Trade Day? – Saturday 11th May.

MKn – it would be good to do something involving local businesses.

TT – perhaps link with Peros.

SM/SK – could talk to Vidya to see if she has any ideas.

MKn – at the very least, we could perhaps do an event at Local Roots.

SK – has been contacted by Ivan to see if we want to be involved on May 1st, when they have another event, this time on fracking. High Wycombe Friends of the Earth group would be there. SK will speak to SS to see if she will be available (SM, BS and MK will probably not be able to make it).

TT – will try to get a letter from Ruth Gunstan at Bucks New Uni, stating their support for us.

BS – had a Fairtrade table at The Avenue Methodist Church and will be repeating this on a second occasion next week.

SK – has also had a Fairtrade table at her church (now called Christ the Servant King) on 3rd March and raised £255.


Next meeting: 16th April 2013 TBC




Meeting of 26th February 2013


Minutes of meeting: 26th February 2013

Micklefield Library, Micklefield Road

Those present:

Amy Ellingham Bob Smith

Mike King Sheila Stevenson

Sheena King Tony Thornby

Matt Knight

Sarah Moroz

MK – pointed out that it had taken until mid-Feb to get a reply from the council re: the petition.

SM – gave account of the meeting at the Environment Centre on February 13th (SK/BS/MS/SM attended). Emma from the Wycombe Food Co-op was there, as well as people from the Transition Town group and Vidya from Local Roots. A film was shown about the Transition Town movement. It was useful for helping us to build connections.

MKn – has said to council that all we want to do is present our case to them. Now an opportunity has arisen to put a question to full council on Thursday (28th Feb). We can then put a follow-up question which council will not see beforehand.

MKn – has also tabled another question on the same evening

re: petitions in general. High Wycombe Town Committee should be having a meeting at the end of next week but it has been cancelled. Matt and Trevor Snaith are trying to get it re-instated. However, Matt has been told that we will definitely be on the agenda for their next meeting.

MKn – a precedent has been set in the last year for the Town Committee to have recommended an issue, Cabinet refuse it, then for it to pass to the Improvement and Review Committee, then it being appealed and got through council.

Steve Cohen is very in favour of having a Town Council for Wycombe.

We need to decide on our follow-up question to council.

MKn – suggests we hold up our folder and say ‘could we have the opportunity to put our case to council?’.

MK – read out the first question, which has been tabled. On Thursday, council may summarise the answer that Hugh McCarthy has already given or even just say that it has already been published.

MKn – need to point out that we haven’t been listened to.

SM – Hugh McCarthy refers to the previous Town Committee decision in Jan 2009. This committee no longer exists and we have waited the required time (2 years) before approaching council again.

AE – we could say that we are concerned that a decision has not been made on the basis of an understanding of the issues involved and that we would like the opportunity to make our case.

MKn – suggests we send e-mails to our local councillors prior to Thursday.

AE – suggests sending info to the Bucks Free Press, giving a time-line of events for our group and she could provide info on what has been happening re: Fairtrade nationally and internationally during this time, which contrasts with the stance of the council – showing that we are behind the times in Wycombe.

MK – we need to make the point that it is an apolitical issue.

There was a discussion about what should happen next with the steering group.

SS – need to wait until after Thursday

SM – feels it is still important to promote Fairtrade in Wycombe, whatever the council decide. Could also invite someone from the Witney group to a future meeting.

MK – or we could go to one of their meetings.

AE – suggests that we hold an event to coincide with World Fair Trade Day (Saturday May 11th 2013). Perhaps a debate at the University?


Next meeting: Tuesday March 12th, Micklefield Library