New home for flood-hit centre

Bruce Crowther outside St John's Church on the Sunday morning after the floods struck. Photo by Richard Davis.
Bruce Crowther outside St John's Church on the Sunday morning after the floods struck. Photo by Richard Davis.
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A new home has been found for a Lancaster fair trade centre, a year after flooding caused by Storm Desmond forced it to shut its doors.

The FIG Tree Fair Trade Centre will move into The Priory after a partnership was forged.

Until December 15, The Priory shop will be selling FIG Tree Fair Trade gifts and their bean to bar chocolate alongside the usual Priory gifts.

Initial opening hours will be 11am to 3pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with the possibility of extended opening hours in the new year, which will be listed on both.

It was a year ago that the floods caused by Storm Desmond struck Lancaster, focing The FIG Tree to leave its home at St John’s Church.

The FIG Tree has continued its work however; delivering its chocolate workshops for schools and community groups, producing its unique bean to bar chocolate and continuing its Heritage Lottery Funded Project promoting Fair Trade through Lancaster’s heritage as a slave trade port.

The FIG Tree Heritage Project focuses on St John’s Church and the Quaker slave trader Dodshon Foster.

Despite no longer being at St John’s the project will continue and end on March 25 2017 – 200 years after the slave trade abolition – with a weekend of heritage events entitled 210 Abolition: Lancaster slave trade port to Fairtrade City.

FIG Tree chocolate is hand made from bean to bar in Garstang the world’s first Fair Trade Town using fair trade ingredients where possible and beans purchased directly from the farmer in New Koforidua, Ghana – the first Fair Trade Town in Africa.

Bruce Crowther, executive director of the FIG Tree, said: “We are delighted to share resources with The Priory for the benefit of all, but especially residents and visitors to Lancaster.

“It is fitting that The FIG Tree should be based at The Priory which is an historical building of great significance while having so much to offer to contemporary society today.”

The FIG Tree was the world’s first international Fair Trade centre and cafe. It left its previous home in Garstang in November 2014 and moved to St John’s Church.