The town’s first virtually appointed mayor has chosen his two charities to support for the coming year.

Bridport mayor, Cllr Ian Bark, has announced Cupboard Love food bank and Burrough Harmony Centre as the local charities he will raise awareness of, as well as funding.

This week we will take a look at what Burrough Harmony Centre does and how it has coped during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cllr Bark said: “I was aware of the food bank but wasn’t aware of Harmony and that in a way speak volumes because if you’re not aware of it, how do you know how to access it and that for me was one of the prime movers in choosing it as a charity.

“In the times that we are living in, more and more people through no fault of their own are going to find themselves in situations where their mental wellbeing is challenged.

“Although people are furloughed at the moment and there is a lot of support out there potentially, I suspect that will unravel and more and more people who are furloughed could find themselves unemployed and that will put all sorts of challenges on families, one of such is just feeding yourself, hence the food bank immediately sprang to mind.

“The two seemed like the right charities, both local and of the time.”

The Burrough Harmony Centre, based at the Assembly Rooms in Gundry Lane, operates the Harmony Drop-in and Dorset Healthcare’s Bridport Community Front Room, both of which had to close their doors when the coronavirus hit. It offers help and support to those living with mental health difficulties.

Alison Cliffe, a trustee at Burrough Harmony Centre, said:“It really affected the people that used Harmony in that they needed that contact and support and it was suddenly stopped. So, we looked at ways we could still be there for them and we immediately set up a telephone service.

“In the first few weeks it was really busy. It’s settled a little bit, but it was very full on.

“We linked up with the town council and coronavirus Facebook group and established the coronavirus support line and Burrough Harmony took over running the wellbeing line, using our staff and volunteers.”

They managed to get funding through the Dorset Community Foundation fund and the wellbeing line is still going.

The team are now looking to improve the centre’s technology and get smart phones to enable them to do video calls.

Alison added: “We need to develop our technology because we’ve always been just a drop-in and now we’ve realised that, although we will get back to being a drop-in service, there are still people who are nervous about coming out and might be going through a down period and need our support.”

Now lockdown is easing, they would like to start looking at doing activities outside and would like volunteers to help, as well as someone who can help with IT to evolve and improve the service.

For more information, visit or search for Harmony Mental Health, Bridport, Dorset on Facebook