After almost a decade of talks, a town has officially declared itself 'rights respecting.'

At a special event in the town hall, students, key group leaders and town councillors gathered for the launch of the Bridport's Citizens Charter.

The idea stemmed from the work started in 2005 by David Powell, a former head teacher who went on to work for Unicef and has been involved with introducing the Rights Respecting Schools Award - and concept - to local schools.

The town council has been holding regular 'democracy days', meeting and working together with school councils, and it has been suggested that there could be a youth mayor after Cllr Martin Ray heard from students that rights and responsibilities were not always applied when they were out of school and asked whether the concept could be taken beyond the school gates.

Cllr Dave Rickard said: "We recognised how well a rights respecting charter worked in schools and some of the schoolchildren had explored what makes a good citizen in general, so with guidance from David Powell the town council then adopted this approach and over time consulted with residents to identify the key issues which we have brought together in this citizens' charter."

After presentations from members of the current steering group - Mr Powell, Cllr Kelvin Clayton and Cllr Rickard - students from the Sir John Colfox Academy set up an exercise that encouraged everyone present to focus on rights and responsibilities and to understand better what it is hoped will be achieved.

Mr Powell said: "All Bridport Minerva Learning Trust schools ensure that children understand the responsibilities that accompany the rights they are born with. This can give them a shared set of values and a moral compass to guide them as they grow. It is wonderful to see this spread across our town."

One student, Jasmine, said: "Many schools follow the Rights Respecting Schools Award, it would be wonderful to see Bridport become a rights respecting community to reflect what students do within schools."

Cllr Clayton added: "In voting to support this charter, Bridport Town Council has pledged to incorporate it into all its activities. We now seek the support of the various organisations and all individuals of Bridport. We thank each and every one of you who does so. Together we can make Bridport a Rights Respecting Town - a town that we will be proud to be part of."