Wednesday, 15 August 2012


ROS Kayes is a prominent Bridport town and district councillor and member of many groups and organisations within the town. You will see her running around the town during the next 13 days as she oversees the inaugural Spirit of Bridport Festival of Culture in her guise as the co-chairman of the group. Today she talks about why the festival is so important for the town and what changes she would like to see happening in Bridport.

HOW did you get involved in the Spirit of Bridport?
We started the Spirit of Bridport in 2007 to take advantage of the opportunity to promote Bridport's tourist industry and brilliant arts, culture and local food to a wider audience. We do arts and culture so well in this town and as the eyes of the world are so acutely on Dorset, it seemed foolish not to benefit the local community with a fantastic celebration of Bridport life. Our town's economy is worth boosting! We started off as Bridport 2012, only to be told by LOCOG we couldn't use the date in our name. Choosing the most famous painting in the town, Fra Newberry's 'Spirit of Bridport' represents all that's bold, feisty and original about the town.

HOW will the festival of culture make a difference to the people living in the town?
There are two main aims for the festival. First, the festival of culture was designed to help people celebrate all that's great about Bridport. There's such a strong community spirit, people love living here, so why not have fun celebrating this. Secondly, we want to bring more people into town to benefit local businesses - this is why we set up the successful Spirit of Bridport business forum. One of my key aims for this festival is to boost income in the town and benefit the community. 

WHAT'S been the biggest challenge organising the festival? 
Where do I start! Getting funding; organising the logistics with the help of Andy Hutchinson a brilliant and indispensable volunteer; trying to accommodate the requirements of the myriad of organisations involved. Putting a huge programme together and dealing with the design side of things. Managing a huge team of volunteers and keeping them all actively involved. There's so much to do putting together a festival of this sort. Thanks to the dedicated support of local people, the Spirit committee and wider community, we have a brilliant festival planned. 

WHAT would you like to see changed in Bridport to make it a better place?
Affordable housing. We've just started a Community Land Trust to try to find a way of doing this by ourselves in the community because it doesn't seem as if housing providers or councils care enough about meeting the need. So let's make it happen. I hate the high private rents as well. Improving the economy and opportunities for young people too, which we have been working on with skills training initiatives over the last few years. These have been very successful, but more remains to be done.  

DO YOU have any other hobbies?
Hobbies? I'm sure I used to have time for them, just things are always so very busy. I love walking in the countryside, travelling the globe (when there's time). Tibet and Cambodia have been incredible in the last few years. I also love song writing and performing, film, theatre and the arts. 

HAVE you enjoyed the Olympics?
I love the Olympics. I've always been a bit of an obsessive about them. So far I've been stunned by how well our women athletes have done and it was great to see women's football, which (don't laugh), I used to play in my youth, finally being taken seriously and drawing crowds when we beat Brazil. It's been a women's games for me - Jess Ennis, our women rowers - it's been fantastic.

IF YOU could ask anyone from history for a dinner party who would they be?
Machiavelli, George Eliot, Ian Hislop, Karl Marx. Can you tell, I like talking about politics and social reform!

WHAT three things would you buy first if you won the lottery?
If I won the lottery - a farm in the South of France or Northern Italy; I'd give members of my family enough to encourage and inspire them and ensure they'd never suffer poverty; I'd set up a charity or social enterprise to support young people and develop non-profit making housing. If I won the lottery I'd do the last one first.

IF YOU were stuck on a desert island what three things would you want with you? 
A man! A guitar or piano and could I have my iPad? If not, pen and paper. I love to write.

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