Here’s what happened at out 2013 Big Brew:
The Big Brew at St Columba’s seemed to be all about small things. A small number of people, getting together in a small place, to drink small cups of coffee. A small amount of money was raised. But in fact it was big. Very Big. Big in fellowship and laughs, big in ambition and big in what it achieved.
The Big Brew is an annual, national Traidcraft event, celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight. Local groups are encouraged to hold coffee mornings using fairly traded products. The aim is to draw attention to the work Traidcraft does in some of the world’s poorest countries, working with small holders to ensure that through trade justice they can feed themselves, their families and their communities.
Our Big Brew was held on a chilly Saturday morning at the end of February, in the Chapel. Along with tea and coffee, biscuits, flapjack and cakes were on offer, all made with fairly traded ingredients. The temperature outside undoubtedly enhanced the popularity of the hot drinks (lots of refills!) and a crowd of Westminster students soon set about the cakes. The Chapel was soon comfortably full. Students, church members and passers-by, all chatted happily, browsed the Traidcraft stall, and bought their smallholder mugs. Now, that was something else small. Little knitted coats on mugs. With the rather dreadful, but very effective pun ‘a small holder for smallholders’. Traidcraft encouraged Big Brew supporters to knit ‘small holders’ – little coats to keep your drink warm for longer and draw attention to the needs of small holder farmers. There had been nothing small about the response to our appeal for mugs and knitters. Knitting needles were dusted off, wool unearthed from the backs of cupboards, mugs were enthusiastically donated, and small holders were knitted. Actually, not just ‘knitted’, they were crafted- there are some very skilled and creative knitters in the St Columba’s congregation. These were not just little mug-coats. These were works of art.
So undoubtedly not the biggest Big Brew in the country, nor the most lucrative. But we’re not adding it up that way. This Big Brew was about getting together and celebrating the big commitment of Traidcraft to those smallholder farmers. It was big in the commitment of the people who came, big in the commitment to go on drawing attention to the need for fair trade, and big in ambition – to learn more and do more so that trade can be just and everyone can have enough.
Thank you to all who came along, to everyone who helped behind the scenes, and to all our knitters!
Helen Christy and Bethan Uden