Awards to celebrate resilience shown in the face of adversity

Creativity on display in Sidmouth

Creativity on display in Sidmouth - Credit: Peter Murphy

Let’s face it. 12 months of lockdown was tough, dreary, and boring amongst other things.

And so it was with spring then upon us, the prospects of easing restrictions on our human liberty and our natural right to fresh, ozone-rich air, I sauntered down The Byes to the Ham to enjoy perhaps the first festival of the year – Seafest 2021.
Looking around, the new Coral Reef Garden and Wave Border added colour and shape to the edges of the new turf, bursting with energy just a year after it was laid; there was music in the air, the aromas of coffee and food on the breeze, and activities all around. People were mingling in and around the newly refurbished Fisherman’s Shed, serving welcoming cold drinks at the bar. Nearby the repainting of the Fish Wall was developing nicely, and further West the boring old Arches was newly vibrant with a new café doing brisk trade.
Without doubt, Sidmouth has enviable natural assets and people were thronging the beaches and the town, enjoying the freedom, the glorious sun and our new café society ambience with outdoor tables and seating.
But how did this fast turnaround come to be? I asked councillor Louise Cole, Director of Sidmouth Community Hub and Seafest Organiser for her views about what’s been happening behind the scenes to get Sidmouth ready for a quick restart.
She said: “Resilience to me is about so many things – the ability to bounce back and to discover alternatives when challenges are faced is just a part of it. I think that the pandemic has stretched us all in so many ways but what is remarkable and inspirational is how as a community our collective ability to adapt and and
quickly find new ways of working and spotting new opportunities, is remarkable.
“The process of collaboration is so amazing through sharing experience and generating new ideas. Unlocking creativity is a true challenge and there is no value that can be placed on community spirit. I am confident that there is a collective strength that will not only help us to recover but to flourish as we move forwards after lockdown“.
It seemed to me on the Ham that day that people had not let the dark hours of lockdown go to waste. Time had been spent in planning for recovery in many fields that keep our economy and community vibrant.
Businesses dealing with supply shortages had found new ways to keep going and to come out the other end; groups managed to plan for events or provide much-needed services both during and after lockdown, all showing that determination, staying power and imagination to carry are the “Right Stuff”.
Surely these are the human qualities that we recognise and admire as resilience?
The Champions Awards wants your nominations for people, business owners, community organisations and associations who deserve recognition for the determination and foresight they have shown in the face of serious challenge this last year and a half.
Please go online and submit your nomination:
And we look forward to looking through the nominations over the coming weeks – before announcing the Champion Awards winners.

Peter Murphy is chair of the Vision Group for Sidmouth

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