Atlantic Academy’s Big BioBlitz, sees students race against time create a snapshot of Portland’s biodiversity.

The Atlantic Academy BioBlitz, which took place on Friday 16th July, was a collaboration between Atlantic Academy, Eden Portland and Island Community Action (ICA) and saw students from across primary, supported by seniors, take part. 

BioBlitz is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species of plants, animals and fungi as possible in a specific area over a short period of time.

ICA coordinator for the event, ML Anderson, explains, “With biodiversity under threat worldwide, we wanted to offer students an informal and fun way to learn about our Island’s amazing flora and fauna alongside local experts. We hope the event will really help to develop their love and respect for nature and the environment now and in the future.”

Atlantic’s Principals, Lesley Bishop (Senior) and Melissa Heppell (Primary) added, “Atlantic Academy are committed to working with students and the community to develop events and activities that help preserve, protect and increase Portland’s biodiversity. The BioBlitz will complement a wide range of other activities we are planning, including the re-starting of our Environment Club in the new academic year and a new wildlife garden and growing space, which is currently being developed within the Academy grounds.”

Eden Portland’s Director, Sebastian Brooke, explains, “Protecting and preserving biodiversity is so important.  This is now a huge global issue and engaging and inspiring people about it is what Eden Portland is all about.  Portland has so many magical stories to support Eden’s mission and I believe another strand manifested itself today:  the delight and curiosity of the children of the Island for the other creatures for whom Portland is also home.  Congratulations and thanks to ICA, the volunteer experts who came out to explain and identify species, Atlantic Academy, including the older children who came to help supervise and the budding David Attenboroughs in primary who came and found wild carrots, beetles and butterflies, moth cocoons, and in the hidden corners, Pyramid orchids.”

Summer in Dorset

For anyone with children on free schools meals, ICA are running some fantastic activities over the summer, Taste Creators and EPIC Adventures, as part of the Department of Education and Dorset Council’s Holiday Activities and Food programme. Find out more and how to book here.

ICA Celebrate New Five-year National Lottery Grant

ICA has a long history of supporting local communities across Portland through its wide range of activities and services – the most recent being its COVID-19 support offer, which helped over 1,300 residents with more than 10,000 personal volunteer acts over the last year. 

The new grant, amounting to £60,400 per year (£302,000 in total), will allow ICA to grow and evolve these activities and services. 

Portland Town Council supported the application with a commitment to provide match funding over the five-year period. This proved to be a crucial factor in helping ICA to secure the grant. 

Kathryn Pearce, Town Clerk explains, “We are very conscious of the high regard in which the local community holds ICA, and the Council has seen them deliver essential support services to vulnerable residents time and time again.  ICA’s twenty years of experience helping the community, combined with their invaluable support during the COVID-19 pandemic, gives them a crucial insight into the needs of Portland residents wishing to live safe, healthy and independent lives. When ICA approached the Council with a proposal for the delivery of a range of essential services for Portland residents, the decision to offer funding made sense from both a practical and financial perspective. There are challenges ahead for many vulnerable residents that ICA can certainly help address.”

Kim Wilcocks, CEO for Island Community Action, added, “This award is not just fantastic news for us but also for Portland as a whole, particularly at a time of so much uncertainty. Of course, we will still need to raise additional match-funding over the next five years, but these contributions represent an incredible start. We are hugely grateful to both the National Lottery Community Fund and Portland Town Council for putting their faith in us.  

“Our new offer, simply called, The Portland Project, aims ‘to help make life the best it can be’ for local residents and was created as direct result of ICA’s experience and ongoing consultation and engagement with the community and our partners. It also responds to the growing emphasis on community-based solutions and the equally important need for a collaborative reimagining around the delivery of services and support at a local level. 

“COVID-19 showed the true value of community-based organisations like ourselves and the powerful and positive impact that local volunteers can have on the wellbeing of those they support (in addition to their own). We want to build on this with an even bigger emphasis on volunteering and an increased focus on prevention, social prescribing, life skills and new ways to improve physical, mental, and social wellbeing. The Portland Project will work collaboratively with others to share best practice, knowledge and resources, and to also help tackle a number of the challenges impacting local residents, including food poverty, independent living, loneliness, the environment and skills. In addition, we will increase our support for other local organisations and work with a broader range of age groups – two things that increased drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will also continue to strengthen our activities and services for Portland’s older residents.

“A massive thank you to all those that have supported us on our journey to date. We could not have achieved what we have without you and we look forward to working with you over the next five years to make an even bigger impact.” 

MV Freedom

It’s summer and there’s nothing like getting out on the water. The MV Freedom, a fully disabled friendly vessel, offered a group of ICA clients and volunteers the opportunity to do just that with a two hour boat trip along the Dorset coastline last week.

Portland’s Mini Pickers

We were delighted to receive this gorgeous card from the Yr 4 children at St George’s Primary School – Portland Events, for the loan of our litter picking kits.

We’d like to say a massive, “thank you,” back to them, not only for the card but for the fantastic job they did cleaning up Easton.

They’re all a real credit to their parents, their school and our community.

What’s On

Here’s a quick summary of ICA’s activities for June 2021… 

***New*** CASH BINGO – Why not come along to the C2000 Hall, Easton every Thursday evening. First session 1st July 2021.  Doors open 6.30pm. Eyes down 7pm. Raffle. Everyone welcome. Please bring your own refreshments.

PORTLAND LOTTERY DRAW – Next draw on 25th JUNE.  £1 a ticket, available from the ICA office and Cards ‘n’ Celebrations, Easton. This date has been extended due to lock down and not being able to sell the tickets, so keep hold of any tickets with the March 26th date on.

BEFRIENDING – ICA offers a range of befriending services, from companionship to help with local errands, personal correspondence or perhaps just a friendly phone call or chat over a cup of tea. All our volunteers are police (DBS) and reference checked, interviewed and fully insured.

COMMUNITY CAR and MINIBUS (wheelchair friendly) – The community car is available for all your appointments and shopping trips. Advanced booking is essential. This service operates on donations with volunteer drivers.

SHOPPING SERVICE FOR PORTLAND’S OVER 55s – ICA runs regular Friday mornings shopping service to Tesco, Easton. Cost £4.00 return. Call ICA to book a place.

OSTEOCISE EXERCISE CLASS – Every Monday, 11am- 12pm at the Girt Hall, St Georges Centre, Reforne. Tutor led. Features seated and standing exercises, stretching, stamina and core strengthening work. Ideal for joint problems, including arthritis and osteoporosis. Supports weight loss. Helps maintain and improve mobility. First session free, then £4.00 per session (including refreshments). COVID-19 – Participants must have had both covid jabs.       

FIT+ EXERCISE CLASS – Every Wednesday, 11.30am –12.30pm at the YMCA, Reforne. Tutor led. Features cardio and core muscle strengthening exercises with a ‘hint of disco-ball.’ First session free, then £4.00 per session (including refreshments). COVID-19 – Participants must have had both covid jabs.     

CHESIL ART (CHAT) – Every Thursday, 1.00pm–3.30pm. The group meets at St. John’s Hall, Ventnor Road, Fortuneswell.  Members can enjoy painting or sketching alongside others in a friendly and welcoming environment, using a range of materials. Suitable for beginners upwards. Tutor support. Materials can be borrowed for the first few sessions. First session free, then £4 per session (including refreshments).

THE MAN SHED – An informal and welcoming space for men aged 18+ to share and learn new skills, socialise and work on individual and/or community-based DIY, woodworking and furniture restoration projects. Open Mondays and Wednesdays.

THE WOMEN’S SHED – Are you 18+ with an interest in basic DIY, woodworking or furniture refurbishment? Let the Women’s Shed team help get you started. Open Thursdays.

The Shed is based at 41 Chiswell, (by the side of the Ocean Bay Chinese takeaway). Opening hours – Monday, Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays 10am-12.30pm and 1.30-4pm. £5 per 2.5hr session.  Attend the am or pm sessions, or both.

NB: Friday am is a shared session for men and women. 

GARDENING – We are able to offer help with gardening, including mowing, weeding, planting and hedge trimming and landscaping. NB. This service is not free. 

For more information about ICA, its activities or how you can support us, please get in touch.

Volunteers’ Week

Today marks the final day of Volunteers’ Week 2021 and we couldn’t let it pass without saying a huge thank you to all of our amazing volunteers, past and present.

You represent the the beating heart of ICA and we could never achieve what we do without you, particularly over the last 12 months – a year like never before, and one in which you have been phenomenal.

Here’s to the future and another year of working together to support our community.

Cycling Without Age

ICA are thrilled to be supporting this fabulous new project for Portland – the photo below shows Tony Charlton with the project’s sparkling new trishaw (just arrived from Germany).

Ahead of the project’s launch on the Island in May, the Cycling Without Age team are looking for volunteers to help with the occasional shift riding the power assisted bike around the top of the island. It looks like a really fun and flexible role for anyone with an interest in cycling and helping those who wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity to feel the exhilaration of pedal power with the wind in their hair.

Contact us for more information.