IT WAS give-away day at West Dorset district council this week – with causes in Bridport and Beaminster getting a share of almost £420,000.

Council leader Tony Alford said after the meeting that he was delighted the council was able to help so many organisations...before it goes out of business in April.

“We always aimed to be finishing well – I think today we can say we have gone some way towards achieving that,” he said.

Grants and loans included a donation for Bridport Museum to restore archives and tackle damp; a 50 per cent grant towards a new skate park at Beaminster and a lease for The Grove, a building close to the Bridport Town Council offices which will mostly be used by community organisations.

Money has also been set aside for new public toilets in Beaminster which will eventually see the existing block alongside the hall closed down.

Councillors David Rickard and Barry Bussell attended the meeting to press their case for the Bridport projects.

Beaminster will get £60,000, roughly half the cost of a new skate park at the Memorial Playing Field, the rest to be funded through the town council. It will also receive a grant of £70,000 towards the cost of new public loos attached to Beaminster Public Hall which will allow the existing district council-run toilets to close.

Bridport Museum Trust is to receive £25,000 to restore archives which have been damaged by damp at its Coach House store and another £10,000 for a specialist survey to tackle the damp problem.

Archives from the store, part of the Local History Collection, may be stored temporarily at The Grove, a building close to the town council offices at Mountjoy.

The committee agreed a lease of the building to the town council with a £5,000 a year reduction in the £20,000 annual rent if at least a third of the floor area is sub-let to community groups.

Cllr David Rickard told the committee that there was already a waiting list to get in the building.