Lyme Regis Builds Back Better

Belinda Bawden in Lyme Regis

Belinda will be setting up a Build Back Better Dorset group to link groups and individuals wishing to share ideas and best practice.

In Lyme Regis, an early Build Back Better idea is linking the new Garden Growers group with the Community Support volunteer initiative to continue the energy, goodwill, resilience and care for the community shown during 'lock-down'. There are now over 500 active Lyme Garden Growers, some experts, some total beginners, all ages and in every part of town. Group members have been growing fruit, vegetables and herbs from seeds, seedlings and cuttings through sharing and supporting each other with entertaining stories on the Facebook page. Fresh produce has been shared with neighbours and donated to the Food Bank. Community planters with herbs have been created for everyone to enjoy and volunteers have helped sort out others' gardens.

Best of all, hundreds of people, children included, are enjoying the joy of nurturing plants into growth and experiencing the delight of eating and sharing freshly-grown produce.

Lyme is a town of great contrasts - east and west, local and in-comer, wealthy and not-so. There is much hidden deprivation alongside enormous community energy with active social groups and lively events, festivals and opportunities to participate in the tourist economy. We have the highest proportion of over 65 year olds and of people living alone in Dorset. Social isolation, problems with alcohol and depression affect too many people.

Developing and promoting the closely-linked Garden Growers and Community Support initiatives with the support of our local health and social care services, has the potential to improve community well-being, increase resilience to future threats, develop a circular economy, reduce food waste and reduce the ecological footprint of the food system.

An ideal vision to emerge from this dreadful pandemic.

Belinda Bawden