STOURBRIDGE has retained its Fairtrade Town status.

The National Fairtrade Foundation has renewed the town's status thanks to strong local support of the Fairtrade initiative over the last two years and the backing of the Stourbridge Fairtrade Town Group by Dudley Council.

People, shops, schools, churches and organisations across Stourbridge have helped the group to promote Fairtrade by stocking Fairtrade Goods, putting up displays about Fairtrade, running competitions or promoting the benefits of Fairtrade - which aims to bring about fair prices for growers in the developing world.

As well as supermarkets smaller shops like Stourbridge Health Store in Victoria Passage, Ecomaniax and Fair and Square in the Ryemarket all stock Fairtrade and ethically produced goods.

Dudley Council is also a Fairtrade Council and supports Fairtrade within the authority and promotes events run by the borough’s two Fairtrade towns, Stourbridge and Sedgley, during Fairtrade Fortnight.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, praised the efforts of the Stourbridge Fairtrade group "for their continuing hard work and dedication to championing Fairtrade" and he added: "This is a challenging time for all of us, but it’s heartening to see what committed people can do to improve working and living conditions for people on the other side of the world and is another example of how the people of the borough are compassionate and doing what they can for those in need."

Kate Williamson-Smith, a member of Stourbridge Fairtrade, said: "We will be celebrating 10 years as a Fairtrade Town in September and the support of so many Stourbridge folk for Fairtrade could be seen at the recent Coffee Morning and Chocolate Tasting Event at St Thomas’s Church Hall on February 29.

"The event was buzzing and a great success thanks so much to everyone who came and supported it.

"Local schools, Brownies and Guides and Sunday schools produced wonderful, colourful art works on the theme of chocolate growers in West Africa. Local stores such as Waitrose and Tesco donated Fairtrade chocolate and we also had Fairtrade chocolates and chocolate drinks from Aldi, Sainsbury’s, and the Co-Op for tasting.

"Fair and Square in The Ryemarket displayed a tall cocoa tree created by the children at St James’s Primary School in Wollaston. Sarah Mason, deputy head at St James’s, helped so much to create the art exhibition.

"All our supporters bring fairness and flourishing to growers around the world."

To find out more about the Stourbridge Fairtrade group, and their campaign to help keep Kit Kat Fairtrade after Nestle announced the popular chocolate treats would no longer be made with Fairtrade cocoa and sugar, visit the group's Facebook page and for more information on Fairtrade check out