THERE are challenges and opportunities ahead for Bridport in 2018 – but the mayor said she is confident the town’s resilience will ‘continue to blossom’.

Cllr Anne Rickard was speaking of the changes to local government, with sweeping changes set to take shape this year. 

In November, communities secretary Sajid Javid approved the Future Dorset proposal, which will see West Dorset District Council (WDDC) and Dorset County Council – as well as other neighbouring local councils – combine to form a unitary authority.

It is the biggest shake up to local government in 40 years.

As reported in the Bridport News, some assets currently owned and run by WDDC will be transferred to Bridport Town Council.

In a New Year’s message, Cllr Rickard said: “The resilience of our town is in large part due to a hard-working team at the Town Council
supported by a community which rallies round to protect the unique character of Bridport and its deserved description of a town ‘punching way above its weight’ – a comment often made when I am visiting other towns in the area. 

“Over the year, whether there has been a need to confront a difficult situation, or whether someone wants to run a festival, a community opera, or maybe set up a charity, the support has been there, both from the people and so often facilitated by a willing and ‘can-do’ Town Council.”

Cllr Rickard also said she was looking forward to the many and varied events hosted in Bridport and further afield – which raise much-needed funds for good causes. 

“How proud I am to be part of a town in which inclusivity is so important. 

“This has been demonstrated in spades by the many events and festivals, groups, clubs and societies which are run by willing volunteers, giving so many of us the chance to take part, at whatever level suits us, drawing us in and ‘gluing’ us together. 

“We have some feisty and deeply caring people here and when something crops up, they react. 

“Either ‘born and bred’ or newcomers they generally agree that change is fine, as long as it benefits the town, but that the precious character and values we hold dear must always be preserved."

She added: “I have had the privilege and pleasure to attend very many events both inside and outside Bridport since I’ve been Mayor and I have been literally bombarded with comments about the friendliness, energy and diversity of talent we have here – and ‘how lucky we are’. 

“I think something special has been created in this corner of West Dorset.

“I’ll raise a glass to that – let Bridport continue to be special, let our festivals be fabulous, let new friendships be forged, our local businesses boom, and our children cherished.”