April is the month we say thank you and goodbye to Charlie, our Fairtrade Plymouth volunteer, who has been developing his social media skills as part of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme. Here’s what he and we had to say about his experiences.
Between September 2021 and April 2022, Charlie was hosted by Food Plymouth to curate the Fairtrade Plymouth Facebook page, a voluntary role forming part of wider programme of activities to achieve The Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award.
Charlie shares his views about the experience
What do you feel your biggest achievement has been over your time as a volunteer?
I think my biggest achievement as a volunteer has been helping to increase awareness of the Fairtrade movement in Plymouth and increasing followers.
What are you taking away with you in terms of new skills and/or interests?
The program for me was a very creative experience. I had to make my content engaging and appealing, to a range of audiences. I also improved my writing as I learned to make my posts look more polished.
What’s an unexpected thing you learnt from your time as a volunteer?
An unexpected thing that I realised during my time as a volunteer was how available Fairtrade products are in my local area and many shops, and how important the Fairtrade movement is. Another unexpected realisation was how difficult it was to consistently come up with engaging and interesting content to post to keep the momentum going. I am happy to have contributed to the number of followers increasing slightly over the last 6 months and to have seen the engagement increase in busier periods.
What are your next steps and have you been inspired to stay connected with the Fairtrade and sustainable food movements going forward?
In future, I will aim to use more Fairtrade products in my day-to-day life as a consumer, because I now have a greater understanding of the social and climate implications behind the Fairtrade brand.
Food Plymouth share their views on the experience
Charlie undertook a social media volunteer placement with Fairtrade Plymouth, hosted by Food Plymouth as the city’s local sustainable food partnership. He served his local community by raising awareness of the Fairtrade movement, the different ways in which individuals and enterprises could support it and how the Fairtrade Foundation are supporting producers across the globe to mitigate and cope with the increasing effects of climate change.
With regular meetings to review current and plan new social media content, Charlie created weekly posts, drawing inspiration from the work of the Fairtrade Foundation. As a result of his work on the Fairtrade Plymouth Facebook page, it gained new followers and saw increased post visibility, particularly during Fairtrade Fortnight 2022, which was a real highlight.
Charlie’s contribution to Fairtrade Plymouth was valued highly, thanks to his reliability, conscientiousness and creativity. We wish him every success in his future endeavours.
Sophie Paterson, Sustainable Food Places Coordinator, Food Plymouth
If you or someone you know is undertaking The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and would be interested in a volunteering placement with Food Plymouth focusing on Fairtrade or other aspects of the sustainable food system, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about Fairtrade in Plymouth here.
Images: Fairtrade Plymouth via Facebook and Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash.