On Hogmanay (as we say in Scotland) New Year’s Eve is a great time to reflect on the past year – and what a great one it was for Bala Sport and for Fairtrade sports balls. Here’s some of the highlights. In 2017 we were for the second time the official match ball of the Homeless World Cup shining an international splotlight on the cause in Oslo, and we provided the balls for the Westfield Health British Transplant Games in North Lanarkshire.
Our balls were chosen by the Scottish Football Association for the Bank of Scotland Midnight League, by The Street Football Association/ Centrepoint and we were chosen as ball provider by A.S. Velasca the Milanese art football club. Our balls are now on sale in Bled, Slovenia and we can count the Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn as one of our followers on Instagram.
Italian club A.S. Velasca place as much emphasis on art as they do on the game, even their match day tickets are works of art. They liked the look of our Fairtrade footballs and chose top play fair.
Our footballs are being used by more and more clubs, especially in women’s leagues, and Fair Trade Groups across the UK promoted Fairtrade balls to clubs the rest of the community during a high profile Fairtrade Fortnight. The excellent video made by the Fairtrade Foundation Schools Team about the making g of Bala Sport Fairtrade balls was translated into the Basque language and shown at a film Festival there, thanks to campaigner David Henderson.
We helped the first factory outside of Pakistan to become Fairtrade certified. Our facility in India now produces our rugby balls which we launched in Wales. The Fair Trade in Football Campaign, led by Sharron Hardwick continued to do amazing awareness raising and persuaded the Wales Rugby Union to use our balls in a Pembrokeshire school’s tournament – the first Fairtrade school’s rugby tournament in fact.
Our futsal balls have been a hit, not only in the Scottish Futsal League where they are official match ball, but also taken up by many universities and the BUCS Northern Premier Futsal League. As a social enterprise we were lucky to be a focus of The Co-operative’s Social Saturday campaign.
It’s always awesome when some decides to support Fairtrade, and Christine Laurence-Jackson chose to raise money to buy 1000 Bala Fairtrade footballs to donate to child refugees in camps across the world – Christine you’re awesome!
Sadly there was one very sad aspect to the year. Ghazanfar Ali Shabir, CEO of one of the two factories in Sialkot, Pakistan we work with passed away. Ghazanfar was a good friend to us and a great supporter of Fairtrade and we will miss working with him. Let’s hope that 2018 is an even better year, with increased awareness and sales allowing us nto place bigger orders with our factories and enabling the workers there to benefit on a more consistent basis from the extra Fairtrade premium we pay them. Please help us do this. Thanks and Happy New Year. Angus and Annie and the team at Bala Sport.
Here’s some more pics from throughout the past year.