LOCKDOWN heroes within the food and drink industry are due to be recognised in a brand new awards initiative.

The Bridport Local Food Group's new Food and Drink 'Lockdown Hero' Awards has been devised to give residents the opportunity to recognise and give thanks to local food and drink businesses which have risen to the challenges of the pandemic.

Residents are encouraged to nominate a local business which they believe have gone the extra mile to provide them with a service during any or all of the lockdown periods. Cafés, restaurants, pubs, butchers, bakers greengrocers, farm shops, market traders and any other businesses you can think of that have gone about and beyond despite the challenges created by Covid-19.

Businesses have been forced to constantly adapt over the past year, with many increasing what they offer and expanding their services to offer delivery and collection.

Kathy Dare, chairman of the Bridport Local Food Group, said: “All our local food and drink businesses are facing massive challenges and need as much support and recognition that we can give them. We hope that these new awards will be a means for the community to say a ‘big thank you’.

"We are extremely fortunate to have so many hardworking and dedicated restaurants, cafes, pubs, retailers, market traders, wholesalers, caterers and producers who have continued to trade by diversifying their offerings and the way they reach their customers.

"Every week we are still seeing something new and inventive, Valentine’s Day weekend being a prime example."

There are six different categories and residents are encouraged to nominate businesses in as many categories as possible.

Voting is now open and will remain so until midnight on Wednesday, March 31. There will be a winner and a runner up in each category, judged by the number of votes and quality of comments received. The winners of each category will be announced in April.

The Food and Drink Lockdown Awards will replace Bridport Local Food Group's usual Front of House Awards

Nominations can be made at www.bridportfoodfestival.co.uk