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A warm welcome to 2023.


Despite growing up during the Cold War, the world today seems to be in far a more fragile and vulnerable position than it has ever been in my lifetime. The impact of covid, climate change and conflicts, are having profound effects on people across the globe, including us living here in Bridport. Listening to, watching and reading the news on a daily basis it is very easy to become overwhelmed by what appears to be an endless succession of ever more depressing reports from across the globe.

And yet the combined impacts of Covid, Climate Change and Conflict can be mitigated and overcome through Collaboration, Cooperation and Concerted effort.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.

The 17 Goals were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which set out a 15-year plan to achieve the Goals.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognise that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection. More important than ever, the goals provide a critical framework for COVID-19 recovery.

We are now past halfway point between the launch in 2015 and the end of the 15-year plan in 2030 to achieve the Goals. The video below gives a summary of what has been achieved so far and how far we still have to go.

Around the world there are so many positive stories to be told click HERE to read about some examples of positive change.

What, you might ask, has all this got to do with you? The answer is that it has everything to do with you. You can make help this happen. Everything you do, every decision you take can in a small way contribute towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

When thinking about what response you are goin g to make towards achieving the Goals do you fall into the Corporal Jones ‘Don’t Panic, Don’t Panic’ camp or the Private Frazer ‘We’re Doomed, Doomed’ camp?

Decisions about the things we buy, how we travel, supporting others, and even how we vote in local and national elections matter if the UN Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved. Make 2023 the year when decisions about the way we live our focuses on becoming more sustainable.


According to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) there was a sharp rise in the number of shops closing on the UK’s High Streets, shopping parades, and out-of-town shopping parks in 2022. More than 17,000 sites closed – the highest number for five years.

  • Total closures were nearly 50% higher than in 2021, the researchers said.
  • The number of retail jobs lost, in stores and online, also jumped as businesses closed or cut costs.
  • More than 150,000 jobs were lost, up 43% compared to the previous year.

At the height of the pandemic some businesses were protected through government support and the furlough scheme, which helped to pay wages when shops could not open. However, in 2022 as the economy continued to reopen, the retail sector faced a barrage of challenges. As a consequence of rising inflation and other factors such as home energy costs shoppers have been reining in their spending. Costs for retailers also rose, with steep increases in energy and wage bills in particular.

The CRR, an independent research body which provides analysis of retail sector trends, said ‘Shops were closing at a rate of 47 per day in 2022. Over the course of the year, large retail chains closed 6,055 shops while 11,090 shops were closed by independents’.

Our own high street is not immune from this trend and we are all aware of some of the much loved businesses that have closed over the past year. That said Bridport continues to offer an exciting shopping experience for residents and visitors alike. But for how long?

The answer lies in all of our hands. As consumers the decisions we make when making our purchases matters greatly to local retailers. By thinking local and shopping local our high street will continue to be a vibrant marketplace.


Dorset Council has been awarded funding from the Government to support low-income households. The Household Support Fund is to help with rising costs and support will be in the form of supermarket vouchers. Citizens Advice will be allocating this fund on behalf of Dorset Council and vouchers will be issued to residents who meet the eligibility criteria.

Residents can apply if they have:

  • an annual household net income of less than £30,000 and
  • savings of less than £16,000 and
  • have not already applied to the fund in November 2022

The application form opens at 9am on Monday 9 January and will be available HERE.

For anyone who needs help to complete the form please contact Customer Services on 01305 221000 or visit a customer access point


Twelfth Night Celebration – Bridport Millennium Green 

A celebration of Twelfth Night in support of Bridport Millennium Green will be held on Friday 6th January at 7.30pm in the Bridport Town Hall. Music from Rough Assembly, complementary glass of wine and a mince pie.

Tickets are available from the Bridport Tourist Information Centre (01308 424901) and cost £10.00 (£8 for members).

West Bay Discovery Centre – Shipwrecks of Lyme Bay

West Bay Discovery Centre is hosting a talk from Nigel Clarke on The Shipwrecks of Lyme Bay. This will be on Wednesday 11th January at 2.30pm in the Salt House, West Bay.

Nigel has appeared on both the BBC and ITV talking about the Jurassic Coast, and has published a “Shipwreck Guide to Dorset and South Devon”.

Tickets cost £5 and are available from the Bridport Tourist Information Centre (01308 424901).

Bridport Community Orchard – Wassail

The 2023 Wassail celebrations take place on the 15th January starting at 2:00 pm in the St Mary’s Field Orchard, just off South Street in Bridport (behind the church).

The wassailing ceremony will be led by Martin Maudsley supported by Wyld Morris and others.

The ceremony includes the crowning the Wassail King and Queen, blessing the trees with bread and cider and making lots of noise (bring a drum, trumpet, pan lids or anything noisy) to scare away the orchard demons.

Cider will be on sale and delicious hot apple juice from last summer’s apple crop will be available for a cash donation.

Go along and enjoy seeing old friends and making some new ones in Bridport’s wonderful Community Orchard.

Bridport Pantamime Players – Peter Pan

Anne and I will be definitely be attending Bridport Pantomime Players’ performance of Peter Pan on Friday 3 February (7.30pm).

I know tickets will be in high demand so get in early to avoid disapointment. Tickets for an adventure to Neverland are available from or pop into Bridport Tourist Information Centre

Bridport Arts Centre – Green Words Project 

As part of Bridport Arts Centre’s 50th Anniversary a ‘Green Words’ project initiated by Dr Kevan Manwaring will be starting on Friday 10th February. ‘Green Words’ is a walking and writing project with weekly walks in the local area followed by a creative writing workshop. The walks will run from 10am-12noon and the workshops from 1pm-3pm at the Bridport LSi. 

Spaces are free but limited to 15 per session, so booking is essential. Contact Kevan: [email protected] to secure a place. For more information about the sessions please click HERE.

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