Mayor’s Blog 150 This week: Holocaust Memorial Day, Charity Marathon, West Dorset Singers, Court Orchard…
This week: Harbour House, Asker Nature Trail & Mountjoy School, St John Ambulance Recruitment, Mayoress Report (Carer Support).
Harbour House West Bay (Bridport’s Longest Scarf)
The lovely ladies and staff at the Harbour House have joined in the challenge to knit Bridport’s longest scarf and have been visiting the Bridport Community Kitchen. Bev from the Kitchen and Bridget (Mayoress) have been visiting Harbour House for an afternoon to knit, chat (and eat cake) and we have certainly seen a rise in the rate of squares being produced!
I was pleased to receive an invitation to visit and meet the residents last week and what an enjoyable afternoon it turned out to be. Harbour House would put many an hotel to shame, such a lovely spot in West Bay, welcoming smiles and tea and cake.
The residents were delightful company and are very committed to helping with the scarf. I spent most of my time chatting to all of them, I can’t knit, so chatting seemed to be an integral part of the knitting experience and I played a valuable part! We even encouraged Neville to do his first ever knitting so it proves you are never too old to try something new!
Bridget had taken a roll of the latest squares they had produced and they were amazed to see it stretched through to the kitchen and back again, an estimated 30m, so no mean feat!
I heard many stories during the afternoon but a special moment was when I was taken to see a lady who is blind but it did not stop her from knitting and she definitely has a unique technique which results in “wonky blankets” that everyone seemed so very proud of. It was a privilege to talk to her and thank her for her efforts.
As we were about to leave I was very surprised when the Staff and residents presented me with a very generous donation towards the scarf fund, apparently they had been collecting since before Christmas and I was really very touched at such an unexpected and generous offer. The money was gratefully received by the Bridport Community Kitchen so a big thank you to Harbour House, the wonderful staff and the merry band of knitters.
Asker Nature Trail
I was invited along to the Town Hall to see the work carried out by the Students of Mountjoy school as part of the Asker Nature Trail project. The project is part of the overall Asker Meadow Management Plan being developed by Bridport Town Council. The project provided a wonderful opportunity to involve young people in the work and has produced some wonderful results. Since June 2023 the students have spent time in the meadow, planting trees, river dipping, clearing litter and rubbish and generally having some educational fun! There were many varied experiences and they were not wasted. With the help of Wen Fern, Kat Thurtle, Jonny Fluffypunk and Sarah Jane Ross they have created their own book of poetry and some colourful art that was inspired by the things they did and discovered in the meadow.
Bridget and I were very impressed with their creativity and the pictures and poetry made the evening memorable. We were treated to some poetry reading by Jonny, supplemented by one very polished and entertaining reading from the Mayoress and poems read by the Students themselves, very brave, in front of a large audience and using a microphone.
It was my pleasure to present the students with a certificate from Bridport Town Council Mayor proclaiming them as official Litterpickers and thanking them for their hard work. They also received their very own “Pinchy Num Num” to use in the future, I will leave you to work out what that might be! Hint, Jonny is holding one in his photograph.
The evening was great fun and inspiring, thanks to everyone involved in putting it together, especially the book of poems and all of the art work, I hope the project will involve even more young people in the great outdoors as it progresses.
For more information on the Askers Meadow Management Plan click here: https://www.bridport-tc.gov.uk/asker-meadows-management-plan/
For more information on the Asker Nature Reserve click here: https://askernaturereserve.co.uk/
St John Ambulance Recruitment
This week it is my pleasure to be able to include the following request for new members to be part of the St John’s All Services Unit. A great opportunity for young people to be engaged in something different and learn new skills.
St John Ambulance Bridport All Services Unit
The Bridport unit of St John Ambulance has vacancies for Cadets, aged 10 to 17 and adult volunteers, aged 18 and above.
This local unit of St John Ambulance incorporates not only Bridport but also Allington,Beaminster, Bothenhampton, Bradpole, Burton Bradstock, Charmouth, Chideock, Netherbury, Lyme Regis and West Bay.
The unit meets in TS Keppel, Bridport Sea Cadet Hall, by Plottingham Playing Fields, West Allington, Bridport DT6 5BJ on a Monday evening from 6 pm.
The unit was formed in 1936 and is kept busy at a wide variety of duties.
In 2023 these volunteers contributed over 3,750 hours of voluntary service in the community and further afield.
The Cadet unit meets from 6 p.m. until 7.30 p.m. This is a great way for young people to take part in volunteer work and learn valuable life skills.
As a Cadet, they’ll take part in a full and interactive programme, working towards the Grand Prior Award, our equivalent to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and volunteering at events. As a Cadet they can learn first aid skills, volunteer within our community by providing first aid cover, alongside adult members, at public events, learn leadership and public speaking skills, spend time on weekend residential camps and have the opportunity to compete in first aid competitions.
If you are interested in becoming a cadet or an adult volunteer member of St John Ambulance please feel free to call into TS Keppel on a Monday evening and speak to one of us or contact:
Volunteering with St John is a great way to meet new people, enhance your CV, learn lifesaving skills and help others in need.
Carer Support Group Meeting Update
I met up with representatives from Age Uk, Alzheimers UK, the Jurassic Coast Social Prescribers, Bridport Connect and Adult Care, Dorset last week.
Following our initial meet up before Christmas, I am excited to announce that 2 new groups are starting at Bridport Connect.
The first is a 14 week programme of CST (Cognition Stimulation Therapy) for those with dementia. This started on Tuesday. To join the next programme, carers can apply for an assessment, for their cared-for with dementia, to take part.
Please contact Rachel Newman for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01305269444
The second group starting in February will be the ‘Forget Me Not’ group. Age Uk have a new well-being facilitator who will run the group. This will be a bi-weekly group on a Thursday afternoon. Memory Café will continue on the other Thursday so that carers and their cared-for with dementia have somewhere to go every week.
The difference in this group is that they will initially come together and then the cared-for will go off to engage in a range of activities with trained volunteers from Age UK and the carers will have some respite time together to relax, chat and have some “time out”.
These are much needed enhanced provisions for the Bridport community and I am really grateful to the organisations that have come together and joined with me to make these groups a realty.
Jim Marshall, Alzheimer’s UK, runs an online Carer Support group which offers advice and signposts carers to appropriate agencies.
For more information please contact: Jim Marshall, Dementia Adviser, Alzheimer’s Society – alzheimers.org.uk or 07719074485
Sam, the Morrisons Community Champion, has kindly donated 2 large refreshment packs to get the groups started. I will be pleased to pass these on when I next visit the groups.