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Mayor’s Blog

Bridport Primary School – Edible Garden

Bridport Primary Schools Edible garden hosted an open after school event last Friday and I went along to see how it is progressing. When I arrived the garden and field beside it was thronged with children and their parents sampling the food and drink on offer and taking part in several interactive displays and experiments. The home made elderflower cordial and a range of pestos were all delicious but the biggest eyeopener for me was an experiment involving a pair of cotton undies carried out by pupils in collaboration with Springtail Farm.

A pair of undies the same as the ones in the image above was buried on March 9th and dug up 9 weeks later on the 11th May. The main body of the undies, the cotton part, had completely disappeared having been naturally ‘composted’ however the man made polyester and the elastic was still completely intact. A dramatic illustration of how long plastic waste will remain in the environment after we have finished with it.

I was also really impressed to see the new Greenscape garden. Autistic children aged five to 11 and their families can now grow their own fruit and veg at a special club in Bridport. Gardenscape launched by ASCape Bridport’s charity for autistic young people up to 25, has opened at St Mary’s Primary School.
The school’s Edible Garden has made a plot available for autstic children to plant and grow organic food as well as eating the fruit and vegetables they produce.

ASCape chairman Karen Wright said: “This is the first after school club in Bridport aimed at supporting children on the autistic spectrum. Autistic and socially anxious children benefit from smaller groups with one-to-one encouragement. They usually thrive outdoors and working with the soil and growing plants can be extremely grounding and therapeutic.”

She added: “ASCape is hugely grateful to St Mary’s Primary School and the Edible Garden team for their support, and for funds made available by the Cowshed and from the Dorset Community Foundation.”

Lead gardener Kat show the children how to prepare the planting area and discuss the lifecycle of plants and how seeds germinate. The children are invited to share in the planning process, selecting plants and sowing seeds. There will be a range of fun activities whatever the weather.
The Edible Garden is a safe and secure area, the lead gardener and volunteers are DBS checked and have full safeguarding training. ASCape also offers monthly clubs and activities for teenagers and young people, based at the Bridport Youth and Community Centre.

Bridport Rotary – Presidents Dinner

On Saturday evening Anne and I went along to the Bridport Rotary, Presidents’ Dinner held at the Bridport Golf Club. I have to admit that prior to going along I had only a vague idea about what Bridport Rotary was all about. I knew they did a lot of fundraising work but that was about it. Prior to going along I did a quick Google search and on the Bridport and West bay website found the following entry:

The Bridport Rotary Club is a very friendly group of 34 members, men and women, and welcome new members and guests. We raise money principally for local good causes, and also some national and international causes.’

By the end of the dinner I could certainly confirm that they are indeed a very friendly group of men and women and that the fundraising work they engage in is exceptional. There are many local groups that have benefited from the monies raised by Bridport Rotary including most recently The Cow Shed and the Cupboard Love Foodbank to name but two. In addition they have been on the street rattling tins amongst other activities to raise money in support of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

District Governor, Michael Fernado seen seated alongside me in the image right, gave an inspiring update on the efforts of Rotary to assist the Ukraine Appeal to help with medical supplies and refugees more generally. I was particularly interested to hear how Rotary as an international body is able to cut through some of the red tape, by linking with local Rotary groups, to deliver what is most needed directly. Michaels report was both eyeopening and inspiring.

Following the more formal parts of the evening Susan Outhwaite form Snooks the world famous hat shop in West Street gave a highly entertaining and informative talk about hats accompanied by many examples for us to try on. The pictures below tell all!

Bridport Food and Beer Festival

In my last Blog I encouraged you to go along to the Bridport Food and Beer Festival and said I would take along my camera and share some images with you in this my next Blog.

Despite the occasional gust of wind causing some nervous moments as gazebos attempted to become airborne this years festival was a resounding success. As you would expect at such an event there was an array of outstanding local food and drink available to sample and purchase and I did my best to sample and purchase extensively.

Much as I thoroughly enjoyed sampling and purchasing the food and drinks on offer the highlight for me was what was going on around the fringe.The Love Food Hate Waste tent, Bridport Youth and Community Centre tent, the Bridport WI tent, the Chef demonstration tent, and the Performance tent plus the Discover FarmingDorset Sustainable Palm Oil and numerous other marquees made for a really diverse and uplifting life affirming experience.

There are so many people who have worked really hard to make the Food and Beer Festival such a successful showcase, rather than try and list them all I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their efforst and congratulate them on a great success.

I will let the photographers tell the rest of the story of the 2022 Bridport Food and Beer Festival.

The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT) – Bridport Town Hall

On Tuesday evening, in Bridport’s Town Hall, I had the pleasure of welcoming, meeting and sitting down to eat with some of the sixty young people, artists and youth workers from multiple countries gathered together on Portland 17 – 25 June 2022.

The aim of the Portland gathering is to discuss, create and inspire many more to take part in activities including music and music producing, performance parkour, spoken word and poetry, dance, visual arts including film and photography, cooking, conversations and much else besides.

During their time together they will cover topics from the Climate Emergency, World Refugee Week, Permaculture and Growing Food, Peace, Child and Youth Rights and looking at the words in the title of TCFT, Truth, Freedom and Completeness/Union/Unione, words which TCFT have been exploring together for nearly 10 years.

Having the opportunity on the evening at the Town hall to talk and more importantly listen to young people from countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Bosnia and Denmark was a real privilege.

Above all I was reminded that in 2022, The European Year of Youth, of how much young people across the world have to offer and are looking to people in older generations to do the right thing to ensure they have a positive future.

The European Union has declared that the European Year of Youth is for all young people. To be successful it must be for everyone and bring everyone on board, including young people from rural areas and disadvantaged youth, Roma, migrant and LGBTQI+ communities. For this, my third term as Mayor of Bridport, I have made the focus of my fundraising and other work youth and young people.

The European Year of Youth has four main objectives:

  • highlighting how the green and digital transitions offer opportunities for young people
  • helping young people to become active and engaged citizens
  • promoting opportunities available to young people
  • bringing a youth perspective to the Union’s policies

Despite the fact that the UK is no longer a member of the European Union I believe we all share the same ideals. The principles listed in the Bridport Citizens Charter fit hand in glove with the objectives of the European Year of Youth.

In reality we are all the same, we share the same needs, hopes and desires. We all share the same aim of wishing to transform the future into a better place where this and future generations of young people can thrive in peace and achieve their dreams.

To find out more click HERE

Around The Mind In 80 Days

Whilst I was attending The Complete Freedom of Truth gathering in the Town Hall, Deputy Mayor Dave Bolwell attended the “Around the Mind in 80 days” event staged by Harmony at the Bridport Masonic Hall as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, funded by the Arts Council England and the Dorset Community Foundation. Here is his report.

This was a celebration of the work so far towards their full show scheduled for Monday 10th October, 7pm at the Bridport Arts Centre, a date I have already put in my diary after seeing and hearing the wonderful art, poetry and singing from some very talented members and staff at Harmony.

Harmony provides support for the well being and mental health of people of all ages and the poetry especially touched on some very personal experiences which left me reflecting on the extra pressure and many challenges faced during Lockdown and still being faced by people because of the unprecedented effects of Covid on society and individuals. The subsequent financial pressures we are all feeling due to rising costs of day to day living, energy costs, fuel costs, food prices, etc., can only add to mental stress.

The message that Harmony wishes to get out to everyone is that there is help available, do not be afraid to reach out to talk to someone and this performance of personal experiences and celebration highlights that after the Dark there can be Light.

Don’t forget: Monday 10th October, 7pm, Bridport Arts Centre – Dave and I look forward to seeing you there.

And Finally –

On Friday afternoon I attended a farewell gathering at the Bridport Museum to say thank you and all the best for the future to Emily Hicks. Emily has been curator of the museum since November 2010 and its Director since May 2017.

Emily’s hard work leading a professional team supported by around 80 volunteers, was given national recognition when the museum was recognised as ‘The Best Small Museum in the UK’ (Visitor, 2019)

Amongst her many achievements during her time at the museum Emily lists two as key in making the museum the modern, dynamic place we know today:

  • Strategic design and delivery of critically acclaimed £1.3 million HLF redevelopment of Bridport Museum completed May 2017.
  • Strategic design and delivery of the ‘Turner in Bridport’ exhibition and programme of events in Summer 2019.

The Museum was filled with people who had come along to say thank you Emily for all you have done to make the Brdiport Museum a ‘must go’ place to visit for residents and visitors alike.

My thanks to Will Austin, Anne Bark, Neil Barnes, Robert Golden, Bernard Paull, and Lottie Welch for the use of the images in this blog.

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