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 🙂


Rural Business Awards Live Stream – Updated

David Leader was a finalist for Community Contribution Award & unfortunately did not win.

The award ceremony began at 4.30pm this afternoon from St Martin in the Fields, London – You can watch the ceremony HERE.

Elaine Leader attended with Margery Hookings accompanying her.  The whole community was with them in spirit. Lucy Turner from the New Inn Pub & Community Cafe in Somerset won the award.

David Leader remains our Community Champion!


David Leader: Finalist In National Award Scheme – Vote Now

Our much missed councillor and friend, the late David Leader, who spearheaded the campaign to save Broadwindsor’s only pub, has been posthumously nominated and short listed as a finalist for the Community Contribution Award in the Plunkett Foundation’s annual Rural Community Business Awards.

Public vote now open – Click HERE – Closes this Friday, 4th November.

The Rural Community Business Awards celebrate inspirational and outstanding examples of community-owned businesses and the kind-hearted individuals involved in them, who have gone above and beyond for their communities over the last year. They stepped up to support their communities more than ever and the Rural Community Business Awards gives recognition and thanks to their efforts.

Rick Dyke, who took over as chairman of Broadwindsor Community Pub Ltd, after David’s sudden death in March this year, said: ‘We’re delighted that his work has been recognised by The Plunkett Foundation, a national charity which plays such a big role in supporting rural communities across the UK.’

David, whose kindness and commitment to the local community, touched everyone… When The White Lion,  Broadwindsor’s only pub closed in the summer of 2021, David Leader rallied the troops and got the local community on board to spearhead a campaign to re-open it as a community-owned pub. Rick continues, “David was always a very supportive, inclusive, energetic and enthusiastic champion for Broadwindsor. He made good things happen. Leading a committee and taking the local public with him, he headed a campaign to raise the funds needed to take on the pub tenancy as a community. Under David’s leadership a Crowdfunder campaign was launched and, astonishingly, smashed the target within a week. His enthusiasm, kindness and commitment inspired everyone to get on board.

David had already been the driving force of so many amazing things in the village – the multi-use games area (MUGA), youth’s football & the community sports field at Hursey and the Community Land Trust as well as acting as the village hall chairman and lunchtime supervisor at the village primary school. All this and a pro-active vice chairman of our parish council.  More so, he was a much loved husband and father.

The White Lion Management Committee had just taken on a pub manager, ready for opening in the spring of 2022 when David died suddenly on 13th March, 2022 at the age of just 64.

Rick Dyke said: ‘The village was shattered – we’d lost our driving force and the man behind so many good things. But we were determined to make this project happen, as a tribute to David’s memory, as a force for all that is good in the community.
‘The White Lion opened its doors as a community pub on 29 April 2022. And thanks to David Leader, the pub is once again the beating heart of our vibrant village.’

This month will also see the official opening on Saturday 12th November of the newly-revamped village green at Bernards’ Place, Broadwindsor, part of a major project in which David was instrumental and includes the installation of solar panels and an air source heat pump at the village hall.

The project was supported by a Crowdfunding campaign and grants from The National Lottery Community Fund, Dorset Council’s Capital Leverage Fund, Sport England’s Places and Spaces Fund and the local FMR Trust.

The winner of the Community Contribution Award and winners of the other award categories in the Plunkett and North Barnes Farm, in partnership with Welbeck Lane and Eton College Rural Community Business Awards, will be announced at a special ceremony on Thursday, 17th November at St Martin in the Fields, London, where Margery Hookings will be accompanying Elaine Leader. You can view the award ceremony live online, please tick the box when you vote. Further information about how to access the live-streaming will be sent out closer to the event date.

Public vote now open – Click HERE – Closes this Friday, 4th November.

❤ The village says Farewell to David Leader – Click HERE.


Restricted Play Please Until 12th November

** Update **

The tape is only round the swings now, the other equipment is good to go! 🙂

The Comrades Hall Management Committee have issued the following request:

Due to the recent wet weather, the ground that has been disturbed during the new installation has become very muddy, and new grass seed has been planted to grow through the safety rubber matting. This is why the whole area has been taped off – it is important that the ground around the apparatus is allowed to settle. We request that children of all ages (including the more adult!) please respect the restriction on use until the official opening on 12th November.

This follows their announcement yesterday on achieving their £20,000 target:

With thanks to our Crowd, extra funding from Sport England and the balance topped up through a generous grant from Dorset Council, we’ve managed to pull it off.
Any money we get over and above our original target will go towards our £25,000 stretch target to help pay for outdoor gym equipment. Some of it can be also put towards new curtains at Comrades Hall to retain the heat generated by the new solar panels and air source heat pumps and therefore doing our bit for the environment.
The new-look Broadwindsor Village Green at Bernards’ Place will be officially opened on Saturday 12th November at 11am, followed by refreshments in The White Lion. We’d love it if you – our Crowd – could come along and join us.

Well done all involved!


Official Opening Bernards’ Place Play Area – Postponed!


Opening postponed – sorry!

Huge apologies, but we are having to postpone Saturday’s opening because we’ve had to rearrange the position of one of the pieces of equipment for technical reasons, which has delayed the completion of the installation.

We will let you know the new date for the official opening as soon as we’re able to arrange it.

With 7 days remaining on their Crowdfunder appeal and work almost completed, the Management Committee at the Comrades Hall have released this invitation:

Thanks to your support, the village green project at Bernards’ Place, Broadwindsor, comes to a successful conclusion at the end of this week. 

We will have a brand new play area, a refreshed community space, a beautiful new oak shelter, and sustainable heating and self-generating electricity in Comrades Hall.

Join us to celebrate our community achievements at the official opening event on Saturday, 29th October at 11am on Bernards’ Place, followed by refreshments and cake in our community pub, The White Lion.

We could not have done it without you!

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday morning.


Village Appeal Reaches £13,000

This morning (Sunday, 9th October) their donations hit the £5,000 mark. This, together with over 100 supporters meant the £8,000 pledge from Sport England kicked in automatically 🙂

They are now at just over £13,000 which is absolutely tremendous.

You can still donate and claim rewards for your donation 🙂 Click HERE.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far and others for their work behind the scenes and onsite in Bernards’ Place – please help continue to spread the word to all those in the village and further afield…

The Comrades Hall was gifted to the village in 1952, in the same year the Queen acceded to the throne. It will be celebrating its own platinum jubilee on 19th November 2022 🙂


Work Continues In Bernards’ Place

Taking advantage of this week’s dry weather, Chris Edgerley, Malcolm Heaver and Sophie Sinton are working hard to complete the new oak framed shelter construction in Bernards’ Place.

The Crowdfunder for the play equipment has just tipped the £3,000 mark and has been extended to Saturday, 15th October following the death of our monarch.

Please help them raise the money they need to get this project completed – donate HERE.


Bernards’ Place Crowdfunder Extended To 15th October

At the time of publishing, the Comrades Hall Management Committee have reached just under £3,000 of their £20,000 Crowdfunder target.  However, if they are able to attain just £5,000, a hopefully more achievable target, they will receive a further £8,000 from Sport England.

The Crowdfunder is now extended to Saturday, 15th October.

It didn’t seem right to publicise the campaign following the death on Thursday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the period of national mourning that continues until the Queen’s state funeral on Monday, 19 September.
Our thoughts are with the Queen’s family and all those who are in mourning.”

You can still claim rewards for your donation 🙂 Click HERE.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far- please help continue to spread the word to all those in the village and further afield…

The Comrades Hall was gifted to the village in 1952, in the same year the Queen acceded to the throne. It will be celebrating its own platinum jubilee in November 2022 so expect some more celebrations 🙂


Eco Info & Crafts – Saturday, 1st October, 2-4pm.

As part of Dorset Greener Homes Week (1st-8th October), the Comrades Hall is opening its doors for all to enjoy an eco, nature, craft and activity afternoon on Saturday, 1st October from 2-4pm
All, including kids (of all ages) are welcome to have a go. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Donations are very welcome for taking part in the craft activities (suggested donation is £2.50 per child & £1.50 per additional child).

There will be drop-in info and displays about local community ‘green’ initiatives, while you have a coffee and a chat.
You can view the Comrades Hall new air source heat pump and solar panel installations – find out more about how they work and the benefits of these installations.
From 1st – 8th October: three Broadwindsor residents are opening their homes to visitors to show green and sustainable changes they have put in place – Click HERE to find out more and book a viewing.
They are looking for volunteers to help on Oct 1st
  • are you artsy-crafty and would like to supervise an activity station?
  • Do you have a local green/nature/wildlife project you would like to represent at the hall on the day?
  • Are you a local business with a sustainable product and would like to showcase your ideas?

Please get in touch with Kirsty via the Comrades Hall Facebook page, or email kirstyamoore@outlook.com
As stated earlier, donations are most welcome on the day – any income generated through the afternoon will support the fundraising for the new play equipment for Bernard’s place.  View the Crowdfunder campaign HERE.