NATIONAL Fairtrade Zone status has been granted to South Ayrshire from the Fairtrade Foundation.

Celebrations among communities are underway as the council has supported the Fairtrade movement since 2004.

With the promotion of various Fairtrade goods across South Ayrshire in places such as Council buildings, nearly 30 retailers and 19 catering outlets have exceeded national targets which has helped them gain the national status.

In addition, 6 schools have achieved Fairtrade status on top of a further 30 who have expressed a strong interest in achieving this in the near future. Furthermore, 16 churches in South Ayrshire also support Fairtrade through a host of promotions and events.

Fairtrade bases itself around better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms for farmers and workers in the developing world.

Supporting the Fairtrade movement since 2004, the area currently has 3 Fairtrade towns. Ayr first received their status in 2007 followed by Troon in 2010 and Prestwick in 2011.

It was a clear indicator that South Ayrshire was an avid supporter of Fairtrade values and therefore has been commended with the national status.

Councillor Ian Cochrane, Portfolio Holder for the Environment explained that it was only a matter of time before the area secured the status and it is well deserved.

He said: "We're committed to reducing poverty and disadvantage while promoting the local economy and securing Fairtrade Zone status sends out a clear message that we care about the way we do business.

"Work to secure this national recognition has been years in the making and it's really satisfying to know that we're getting this right and helping to deliver a fair deal for people living and working in the developing world while living by our values at home.

"The campaign is ongoing, though, and with sustainability central to the way we work we'll be looking to build on our momentum by encouraging more people to get on board to make this worthwhile campaign one that everybody lives by."