Football is the great leveller. It’s made millionaires out of street kids and is a global language.


At Bala, they love football too and saw the potential to improve even more lives, launching a line of Fairtrade balls produced ethically in Pakistan.

Football is supposed to be the beautiful game,” says Bala joint MD Angus Coull. “The football authorities have great equity policies all about fairness and respect for fans and players, but they don’t extend to the men and women in developing countries who make the crucial piece of kit, the ball.


Our workers are at the core of what we do. One of the most noticeable things you see when you go to the factories is the emphasis on health and safety, everyone still has in their minds the terrible Bangladesh garment factory disaster, so it’s good to see that Fairtrade certification ensures safe conditions, and of course no child labour.”


 Fairtrade also means there is a cash premium that is invested democratically by workers in things like free healthcare, educational supplies, fair-price shops and even water purification.


I met a family at one of our factories who invited me into their one-room home,” says Angus.

The father works in the factory and is able to provide for his three kids. They told me that two of them want to be teachers and one wants to be a doctor. With the benefits of the Fairtrade system they’re off to a good start.”



Flowers on platform 9¾ were a bittersweet tribute to cherished actor Alan Rickman after his death from cancer last week. One of his final pieces of work was voicing a fundraising video for Save the Children and Refugee Council. Help boost their total and hear that marvellous voice again here.