This year, Bridgwater Town Council has taken Tourism as one of our priorities. With increasing numbers of people coming to the town and a growing number of hotels to accommodate them the interest has never been greater. To capitalise on that we are bringing out new tourism literature which we will be launching on carnival weekend, when the town multiplies 4-fold. But the crucial thing about increased momentary prosperity is sustainability and creating a legacy for the future. The regeneration of key areas of Bridgwater must primarily leave it’s mark on our town centre. New, young Town Mayor , Diogo Rodrigues, is bringing the Mayoralty into the 21st century, and he has been giving this some thought. I asked him to put his thoughts into words. So he did.
“We are a wonderfully diverse town with pockets of creativity, with areas of innovation and with high skilled educational opportunities available for our young, not to mention our rich history which we can all get a small taste of from the Blake Museum. With our town ever changing and developing into an area of interest for people of many backgrounds, we often overlook what our town has to offer and how we can further build on it.”
“Our Town centre was once a vibrant, diverse market town bustling with activity with shops full to the brim but sadly, that’s not a fair description of our town today. That’s not just the case here in Bridgwater but all over the UK, where the internet has allowed us to shop quite conveniently, and often cheaply, online to the detriment of our high street. What we should be doing is thinking about ways in which we can adapt and become a vibrant town centre fit for a 21st century Bridgwater. We need to focus on, encourage and support independent businesses in our town from clothing to home décor and from cafes to bars. Shops which provide a unique experience with items you can’t always find online, and independent eateries to wind down and soak up the atmosphere of a delightfully diverse town.”
“We should look at what our town already has to offer and work in partnership with key organisations to offer opportunities to aspiring entrepreneurs. We can work with creative organisations such as the Bridgwater Arts Centre to provide courses for our future artisan shop owners. We can work with Bridgwater College to provide essential training to ensure that our future entrepreneurs are equipped with the key business skills required to be successful. We can work with the Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce to provide crucial business mentoring, ensuring that start-ups get the all the support they need in the most challenging first months of their new venture. And our council should be at the forefront, facilitating a collaborative business support initiative, able to provide a financial support package for collaborative entrepreneurs willing to work together, to share costs and to making setting up shop in our town affordable, achievable and sustainable.”
The new Bridgwater Tourism guide will be launched by the Mayor on Saturday November 3rd at Bridgwater Town Hall from 11.00 onwards. Everyone should feel welcome to drop in and pick one up and help us distribute them, spread the word. The Guide focuses on Bridgwater’s unique cultural offer, our special location and our heritage and waterways, promotes business, tourism, the arts and the rebel nature of the town.
For the second year running we will also be producing Bridgwater calendars and postcards, this time featuring a selection of works from local artists.
The message is Bridgwater is a fun town with a proud rebel history and a unique cultural offer, located close to amazing landscapes and it needs a town centre that welcomes visitors, provides for locals and is clearly vibrant and different.