After the usual brief introductions, the attendees at the Bridport Business Chamber meeting heard an update from Nigel Reeve at Marketing West, about the inaugural Bridport Local Business Awards. Entries have far surpassed expectations and everyone is looking forward to discovering the winners at the presentation lunch at Highlands End on March 5. The awards are judged by a totally independent company, using secret shoppers, and they will produce an unbiased report on each business and an insight into Bridport's overall retail offer, a helpful guide for future development.

Nigel also introduced the new Bridport Chamber handbook, which will be produced soon. It will hopefully act as a directory to encourage chamber members to support each other and the wider local business community.

The chamber are very pleased to have been asked to judge and present the awards at a year seven Enterprise competition at the Sir John Colfox Academy. Students will be given a small investment to start and run a mini-business in school. The chamber hopes this will signal the start of a closer relationship with the schools and colleges in the area, which will help fulfil one of the current chamber manifesto objectives, to keep young people engaged with the town, as a good place to live, work and build a career.

The chamber was also pleased to hear that the farmers' market has managed to find a new home on a trial basis, at the Bridport Youth and Community Centre.

The town council report covered the Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan, the Bridport Town Council five year plan, the problems of the bus service (or lack of) in the town and possible VE Day celebrations. There was also a brief discussion about the previous month's brand workshop and how the results could be utilised moving forward. The chamber is always looking for ways to make itself more visible and recognisable as 'the voice for Bridport business' and a hub for local businesses if they need information. If you have any ideas how to help with this, we'd love to hear from you.

The next meeting is on March 10, 6pm, at Mountfield, Bridport, and starts with the AGM. There will also be a short presentation by a representative of the Dormen Mentoring Service, followed by the normal monthly meeting.

All members and prospective members are welcome. If you would like further information, or would like to nominate someone as an officer or committee member, please contact Debbie on