Home-Start Wessex is delighted to have been chosen as one of the new Mayor of Bridport’s chosen charities for the year 2024 – 2025.

Councillor Anne Rickard was officially elected as Mayor of Bridport in May 2024 and confirmed at the Mayor Making ceremony at Bridport Town Hall on 27th June. Mrs Rickard has taken up the role for the second time, having previously served as mayor in 2017.

Commenting on her charity selection, the Mayor said, “I have chosen Home-Start Wessex as one of my charities as it puts a focus on our young people. The charity fits perfectly with our town’s Rights Respecting Status, requested by young students at Colfox School and written into Bridport Town Council’s modus operandi since 2018. Still the only Rights Respecting Town in the country, we are ever keen to ensure all rights are respected, and in this case of course, the very important Rights of the Child. This charity embraces this so well, and I am very pleased and proud to support it.”

The Mayor has also chosen Bridport Youth and Community Centre and Bridport Read-Easy as her charities of the year. These vital local charities also embrace Rights Respecting in great measure.

Kathy Fryatt-Banks, CEO of Home-Start Wessex, said, “We are incredibly grateful to the Mayor of Bridport for choosing Home-Start Wessex as her charity of the year. Fundraising is a constant challenge, yet our service is in more demand than ever. This year, we supported over 500 families in Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire, 100 families more than last year, which was already a record year for us. This fundraising support will make a huge difference, enabling us to continue to help families going through major crises in their lives. Because childhood can’t wait.”

Since 1995, Home-Start Wessex has helped over 3,500 local families and supported over 10,000 children. Their reach covers the Purbecks, Swanage, Weymouth, Dorchester, Bridport, the whole of the BCP Council area, including Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch, across the borders of Hampshire and Wiltshire, going as far north as Cranborne and Fordingbridge and as far east as New Milton. Their volunteers offer friendship, practical support and advice to families who are facing difficulties, including poor mental health, depression, disability, domestic abuse, bereavement, isolation and multiple births.

The charity is always looking for new volunteers, as well as fundraising donations. If you can commit to 2-3 hours each week to help, please contact heidi@homestartwessex.org.uk.