The Garstang Oxfam Group (GOG) was set up in April
1992 when it had only three members including Bruce Crowther, founder
member and present chairperson. It now has a total of 19 members
and meets every third Tuesday of the month in the Crown
Public House on the High Street in Garstang.
GOG is primarily a campaigning Group although it
does take part in fundraising activities when the opportunities
arise. Since 1992 it has campaigned on many issues concerning global
poverty including the Jubilee 2000 campaign to abolish Third World
Debt, the campaign to ban landmines, Oxfam's Conflict campaign
and the recent Education Now campaign. It has constantly worked
to increase awareness of fair trade and to increase the sales of
Fairtrade products in Garstang. GOG's Fairtrade
campaign has been a favourite for the Group because it is a
relatively simple message to get across and the general public
can easily take the required response i.e. to buy fair trade goods.
Over the years GOG have lobbied MPs and MEPs and
now have a very good working relationship with Hilton Dawson, the
MP for Lancaster and Wyre.
|The group often runs street stalls
and conducts local surveys and petitions as well as holding debates,
public meetings and library exhibitions to promote awareness on Oxfam
issues. The Group's first event in 1992 was to build a shanty house
in the centre of Garstang to promote Oxfam's Forced to Flee campaign
on the plight of the world's refugees. It took part in Oxfam's Cold
Front Appeal at Christmas the same year when over 100 bags of clothes
were collected in just one week to send to Eastern Europe and Afghanistan.
The Group endeavors to enter the Whit Children's Festival procession
each year and has entered commemorating Live Aid, promoting Jubilee
2000, as Thunderbirds (Oxfam - Today's International Rescue) and
twice as Fairtrade products. It has held an Africa Evening and a
very successful Tibet Evening that raised over £200 for the Free
Tibet Campaign. The Group enjoys good Press coverage especially from
the local paper the Garstang Courier.
The Garstang Oxfam Group
meeting David Bryer, who was then Oxfam's Director, September
Garstang Oxfam Group campaigning
in sunny weather for once...
|On the fundraising side GOG always takes part in
Oxfam's annual sponsored Fast as well as distributing Fast Packs
to other potential participants. It coordinates the annual Door to
Door collections during Oxfam Week and does a street collection
also each year. Occasionally, when the opportunity arises, the Group
will run a raffle or other fundraising events.