EAST Dunbartonshire Council is taking a step in the right direction by supporting this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from Monday to March 11.

The campaign theme is ‘Take a Step’ and encourages people to support some of the world’s poorest communities in a variety of different ways – from simple changes to consumer habits to getting involved in community group campaigns.

Anyone taking a step is being asked to record it on the Fairtrade Foundation website, as the organisation is looking to get 1.5 million steps in the right direction.

The council has been a leading Scottish authority on Fairtrade since being awarded Fairtrade Zone status in 2007 and with Scotland hoping to be crowned one of the world’s first Fairtrade Nations later this year, there’s never been a better time to show your support.

You can ‘Take a Step’ by supporting the East Dunbartonshire Fairtrade Cotton Schoolwear Campaign, buying Fairtrade instead of your usual brand, opening a savings account and sharing interest with Fairtrade businesses in the UK and abroad or getting involved in a community group challenge.

There are many different ways you can show your support, regardless of your starting point. For more information visit www.fairtrade.org.uk or contact the council’s climate change team on 578 8655 or climatechange@eastdunbarton.gov.uk for a list of ideas tailored to your interests.

Remember, if you want to get involved, share your Fairtrade Fortnight plans with the Fairtrade Foundation at http://step.fairtrade.org.uk

Convener of development and enterprise, Councillor Billy Hendry, said: “The council is continuing its long standing commitment to Fairtrade by supporting this year’s campaign and encouraging people within our communities to get involved. Small changes can make a great big difference in supporting people throughout the world earn what they deserve for the products they supply to us all every day.”

Meanwhile, East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson is urging communities across the area to become Fairtrade towns as part of Scotland’s quest to become one of the first Fairrrade nations in 2012.

More than 55 per cent of communities of 5,000 people or more need to be signed up to reach this goal.

Following a meeting with the steering group trying to make Lenzie a Fairtrade Town, Ms Swinson hopes others will do the same.

She said: “Communities have played a crucial role in growing Fairtrade around the world. Through trade we can make a real difference, helping people pull themselves out of poverty and making sure farmers and workers get a fair price. ”

Communities can visit the Fairtrade Foundation website at www.step.fairtrade.org.uk for information and the Scottish Fairtrade Forum at www.scottishfairtradeforum.org.uk to see what’s going on in Scotland.