Community retailer The Midcounties Co-operative has enlisted the help of its charity mascot Cooper Bear to introduce children to the benefits of Fairtrade.

Pupils at King’s Hill Primary School in Wednesbury will meet Cooper, the Fair Bear, learn how buying Fairtrade goods helps people in developing countries and sample Fairtrade fruit and chocolate.

More than 100 children will join in the special activities at the school on February 26 which include decorating a Fairtrade cotton ‘bag for life’ which they can keep. Midcounties president John Boot will also call in to give his support.

The Co-operative is among the the leading supermarket supporters of Fairtrade and the day is one of the ways it is celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs until March 7.

Louise Brown, community co-ordinator at Midcounties, said: “We are a community-focussed business which has long been an enthusiastic supporter of Fairtrade.

“Trading ethically is a key commitment for a co-operative and is integral to our values and principles.

“We are keen to get the message across to children and adults that by choosing Fairtrade goods they can make a real difference.”

The theme of this year’s nationwide Fairtrade Fortnight campaign is ‘The Big Swap’ and organisers hope more people will swap everyday shopping basket items such as tea, coffee, chocolate, sugar and bananas for Fairtrade ones.

During the fortnight the Fairtrade Foundation will tot up product swaps on a special online swap-o-meter. Its aim is to get people in Britain to make one million and one swaps over the two-week period and change the lives of at least one million and one farmers and workers around the world.