About our Foundation

The Lorna Young Foundation (LYF) is a UK registered charity that works towards the eradication of poverty through helping disadvantaged groups through the medium of ETHICAL TRADING.

Overseas, the LYF helps smallholder farmer groups and co-operatives  to gain better access to information and expertise and to improve their livelihoods; supporting them to add value to what they grow and lift themselves out of poverty. See Our Programmes page to find out more about our  projects – and in particular about LYF Farmer’s Voice Radio.

In the UK, our mission is the same – but we go about it in a different way. We support marginalised groups (i.e. youth at risk of long-term unemployment, those with disabilities, BaME groups) helping them to learn ETHICAL trading skills and to create fair trade social enterprises. This leads to work and training opportunities and the creation of community-owned ethical trading social enterprises that move value along the supply chain. We also encourage them to connect these ‘consumer’ communities with the producers themselves; so that a better understanding of – in the words of Jo Cox – ‘that which we have in common’ is achieved.

We are all about self-determination for communities – both in developing countries and in the UK – offering the knowledge and capacity they need in order to take more control of their livelihoods.

Why do we do this?

We are passionate about ensuring that our development work respects and reflects the cultural sensitivities of the communities in which they are set.

So, whether based in rural farming areas in the developing world or in deprived urban areas in the UK, our programmes are designed around the needs and aspirations of local people; on what THEY tell us what THEY need.

The LYF was set up in 2003 in memory of the late Lorna Young, a pioneer of fair trade in the UK, see Our Mission, Values and Lorna. The LYF shares Lorna’s belief that farmers in developing countries can lift themselves out of poverty – they just need help to gain better commercial knowledge and access to markets.

We are an unusual charity. We take the approach of listening to the needs of communities and working to match them with the interests and concerns of  those at the opposite end of the supply chain. Our Board and Executive, our Partners and our Supporters comprise some of the most respected and visionary individuals and organisations within the ethical trading sector, see Our Board and Team.