A COMMUNITY project is helping grass roots groups and charities tackle environmental and social issues in Bridport.
Wessex Water’s Community Connectors project is working closely with individuals, groups and organisations on a two-year initiative that aims to meet shared environmental and social goals in the town.
Bridport’s Community Connector fund, which is being administered by Dorset Community Foundation, has seen six groups share more than £24,000 for projects that address issues identified as important to local people and Wessex Water. The company employed community connector Emma Teasdale to identify groups in the town who could meet the priorities set in a community survey and a workshop in January.
The priorities included helping people lower their bills and get better support during the cost of living crisis and raising awareness about environmental topic such as saving water, improving water quality in rivers and protecting the sewer network.
Among the recipients is Bridport Food Matters, which received £4,920 for its We Dig No Dig project, which promotes composting beds to grow vegetables.
The group is encouraging people to set up easy to maintain ‘no dig’ beds using a 10cm layer of compost in their gardens. It has also set up communal gardens at The Cowshed at plot 17, a social-prescribing allotment, and St Swithun’s Church.
Committee member Sarah Wilberforce said: “We will support anyone with an interest in food growing and compost making. They may have existing space or none and can be individuals or new or existing groups – anyone wanting to improve their diet and address local food security.”
Dorset Wildlife Trust has been awarded £5,980 to set up citizen scientists programme to monitor water quality in the rivers Brit, Simene, Asker and Mangerton around Bridport.
Amanda Broom, the trust’s River Catchment Manager, said volunteers will be trained how to measure water quality. Already 13 people have signed up. She said the project will encourage people to understand more about the rivers and change their behaviours. “Importantly, we will also analyse the data collected by the volunteers and build an understanding of the state of Bridport’s rivers in a comprehensive way and share the results,” she said.
It’s wonderful to see such a variety of projects in one town and we are delighted Wessex Water’s generosity will give them the opportunity to grow and make a difference
Dorset Community Action has been given £5,960 to support the expansion of its Seed2Plate project, which turns unused plots of land into growing spaces for the community, at an allotment belonging to Burrough Harmony Centre.
It will work with people from the town and Burrough service users residents to teach them how to grow and harvest fresh fruit and vegetables. Enterprise manager Paul Seaman said the project will encourage learning, reduce food costs and waste and improve mental health.
The Asker Nature Project received £4,850 to create a nature trail between Morrisons and East Street to tell residents and visitors about the history of Asker Meadows.
Bridport Town Council will use a £6,000 grant to install two water bottle refill units to reduce the use of single use plastic bottles. Transition Tow Bridport received £1,200 for Rainwater harvesting and watering equipment for the edible gardens at St Mary’s and Bridport schools. It will also hold a family event in the summer at Bridport Primary School to improve understanding of the need of water for growing food.
Ms Teasdale said: “We’re thrilled to be supporting a wide variety of stakeholders, voluntary organisations and members of the Bridport community to rethink water in the town.
“Wessex Water will be continuing to work with the community into 2024, looking at ways to improve the local environment and support customers though the cost of living crisis.”
Dorset Community Foundation director Grant Robson said: “It’s wonderful to see such a variety of projects in one town and we are delighted Wessex Water’s generosity will give them the opportunity to grow and make a difference.”