New Outdoor Gym Equipment In Bernards’ Place

Photograph by Nathalie Roberts.
From Left to Right: Ross Heaver & Anthony Claiden from Bridport Round Table, Suzy Edgerley, Morgan Napier, Malcolm Heaver, Sophie Sinton, Chris Edgerley, Jill Maguire, Alice Bagg from Magna and new Chair of the Comrades Hall, Megan Jones.

Broadwindsor’s revamped Bernards’ Place has been enhanced by three new pieces of adult exercise equipment: the air skier, double air walker and rider have been installed in the heart of the village.
They complement challenging new play equipment and an oak-framed shelter which was put in last year by the Comrades Hall Committee after a major fund-raising campaign to transform the village green.

Two pieces of equipment were funded by locally-based Magna Housing Association and Bridport Round Table.

Megan Jones, Chair of the Comrades Hall Committee, said: ‘We’re extremely grateful to Magna and the Round Table for the sponsorship of the adult exercise equipment. It has added a new, inclusive dimension to Bernards’ Place.

Families are enjoying time together, exercising, playing and having fun. In these tougher financial times, having a free safe area for activities in the centre of the village is a big plus. It is so important to promote healthy options for all age groups.’

Ross Heaver, from Bridport Round Table, was brought up in the village. His father, Malcolm, led a team of volunteers who put together the shelter on the green.

Ross said: ‘It’s been an absolute pleasure to have been able to donate the funds for the outside Air Skier on Broadwindsor village green. Having grown up in the village it’s amazing to see such a high level of support from the local community, businesses and charities alike. Bernards’ Place is such an amazing spot for all to enjoy.

Alice Bagg, Magna Head of Customer Experience and Home Services, said: ‘We’re really pleased to be able to partly fund the new exercise equipment in Broadwindsor and proud to support people in local communities where our customers live to be active, healthy and enjoy time outdoors.

The gym equipment has been placed in between the new play area and the newly-opened up space at the bottom of the green, which is ideal for picnics and community events.

The Hall committee’s Village Green project received financial support from the National Lottery, Sport England, Dorset Council, Broadwindsor Group Parish Council, fundraising and donations from local people through a successful Crowdfunder campaign.

Said Megan: ‘It’s made a big difference to the heart of the village and we are so grateful to all those who have helped us create such a lovely space for everyone to use.

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Westbay Wheelchair Scheme On BBC Radio

Village resident, Elaine Leader spoke with Steve Harris’ Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Dorset yesterday morning about her fundraising campaign for wheelchair access to Westbay beach.

Steve begins his interview with Elaine 54 minutes in – Click HERE to listen (You will need to sign into BBC Sounds account). The interview lasts 5-6 minutes.

A further £200 was raised by donations at the White Lion’s New Year Party 🙂 Thank you!

Your donation for this very worthy cause can be made via the Crowdfunder page HERE.

For more information on Elaine’s Westbay Wheelchair Scheme – Click HERE.


Elaine Leader Spearheads West Bay Wheelchair Scheme

Village resident Elaine Leader is at the helm of a new enterprise – A beach wheelchair scheme for West Bay, which is on course to launch in Spring 2023. The main photograph shows Elaine’s Mum, Audrey Bent on a Sandcruiser wheelchair at Studland.

Gabriel Jolliffe

This amazing project has been gathering momentum since beach matting was laid on West Beach by Bridport Town Council in August.
Elaine Leader, who is leading the project, said: ‘The matting already been well used by many people with disabilities and restricted mobility in wheelchairs and mobility scooters who have never been on the beach at West Bay before.’

The scheme has already gained a significant amount of recognition and support from the local community. The town council will be taking it a stage further by working in partnership with Dorset Council and Parkdean Resorts, which owns West Bay Holiday Park. The team from Parkdean, the UK’s largest holiday park operator, will play a vital role in facilitating free hire of the wheelchairs.

Neil & Lucy Barnes at West Bay

Elaine said: ‘I’m so excited the beach wheelchair scheme is coming to fruition. It’s going to make an incredible difference to so many people with disabilities and restricted mobility to enable them to access the beach at West Bay.
’’I would like to thank Will Austin at Bridport Town Council and Cllr Kelvin Clayton for their help and I’m really grateful to everyone who has donated and supported this project. The Crowdfunder appeal has so far raised more than £2,500 towards the £10,000 target.’

Local clergyman the Rev Philip Ringer, said: ‘I hope and pray that many people will want to make this a reality and soon. When you look out to sea from the beach then you realise all life’s problems are behind you. Those who are using wheelchairs deserve to have access to the beach like everyone else.’

More donations can be made via the Crowdfunder page HERE.

Rachel Hallett at West Bay

The Mayor of Bridport, Cllr Ian Bark, described the beach wheelchair scheme as a wonderful addition to the facilities in West Bay, building on the success of the beach matting already provided, the fully accessible West Bay Play Area, and the two ‘Changing Places’ toilets that the town council expects to be installed in 2023.

There will be two changing facility toilets at West Bay – one at West Bay Road car park and a second at West Bay Holiday Park. Each will have a toilet, an adult changing bed, shower and a hoist and will offer a crucial but basic need for people with complex disabilities so they can enjoy a whole day at the beach instead of having to go home when they need to use the facilities.

Cllr Bark said: ‘We’re incredibly grateful to Elaine Leader and other local volunteers for the drive and ambition they’ve brought to this initiative, as well as Parkdean Resorts and Dorset Council for their being the operational force behind this important and inclusive scheme, and to all those organisations and individuals who have contributed to the fundraising effort.

A beach wheelchair.

West Dorset Mencap Chairman Linda Simpson said that the charity was delighted to offer significant financial support to fund the manufacture of a special platform which will enable those, who need a specific wheelchair and cannot transfer, to enjoy the beach and the sea.

Bridport Round Table has also provided a significant donation which is funding another one of the beach wheelchairs.
There will also be a wheelchair that can float in the sea and can be used in conjunction with a qualified swimming coach so that the carers do not necessarily need to be in the water.

Said Elaine Leader: ‘West Bay Harbour Master James Radcliffe and his team have provided great support to help with the scheme and are managing the beach matting.
‘James has also supported the siting of a structure to provide storage for the wheelchairs and hoist.
‘This will enable The West Bay Holiday Park team, run by Craig Johnston, to safely facilitate the hire of the wheelchairs within close proximity to West Beach.’

The Hippocampe All-Terrain Beach Wheelchair

Shaun Caesar, General Manager at West Bay Holiday Park, said: ‘We want West Beach to be a welcoming destination for all, and we envisage that these wheelchairs will help local people, tourists, schools and care homes to access and enjoy the beach.
‘The scheme has gained amazing support and enthusiasm from everyone involved and we hope this continues to create a positive impact on the local community.’

There will be a hat for donations at this evening’s New Year’s Eve free disco in the White Lion. Please support Elaine with this very worthy cause 🙂