Dorchester hosts it’s “Streets Alive!” event, celebrating International Car-Free Day in Acland Road car park on Friday 22nd September 2023. There will be a festival with stalls, music, activities, and demonstrations in the car park from 12pm to 5pm. Local school children will be taking part with members of the public invited as well!
Streets Alive will be based around the theme of active transport, encouraging the public to “reclaim their urban spaces”, find fun and engaging alternatives to driving, and enjoy the health benefits of active transport (walking, scootering, and cycling). Some of the fabulous activities and demonstrations include: the Crazy Cycle Circus, King Ramps Skateboarding, walking football, circus skills workshops, Bike-agility, Trishaw rides, pottery, arts and crafts, interactive fitness demonstrations and much more! The day will be sound tracked by music from Keep 106. To close the event, for anyone who still has the energy, there will be a traditional Dorchester Hokey Cokey.
Dorchester’s primary and middle schools have shown great enthusiasm and support for the festival with schools getting involved as part of this event. It is intended that the children will walk, cycle, or scoot to the festival from their schools with some coming in on a professionally-led “bike-bus”. The number of children travelling to the festival will give a powerful visual message that our streets are for everyone! At the event, there will be a range of activities and demonstrations for them to enjoy including some inter-school games. Their experience and learning will be used by the schools as part of their curriculum delivery.
Julie-Ann Booker from Dorchester Transport Action Group said, “The event will take a space in the centre of town usually occupied by cars and reclaim it for the townsfolk for one day, turning it temporarily into a joyous space for a series of fun and educational activities. The central idea is to gently encourage a behavioural change from using cars to active transport which will bring a range of benefits including, reduced levels of air and noise pollution and a reduction in our carbon footprint. The event will be open to everyone: old and young, mobile, and not so mobile, to experience the centre of Dorchester in a new way”.
Local cycling groups are also being encouraged to participate in a mass cycle on the day of the event. The route will start outside Dorchester Library at 3.30pm and finish at the Acland Street Car Park where there will be a circuit of the car park. This cycle ride will be another act of temporarily “reclaiming our streets”.
Cllr Alistair Chisholm, Mayor of Dorchester, said “I am delighted this event is being held in the county town as it will demonstrate how we must adapt our travelling habits for a climate change future. Streets Alive turns ideas into actions from which we can all learn and it builds on the occasional High Street closures which are appreciated by so many residents, visitors and businesses.”
Dorchester Streets Alive aims to be inclusive of everyone: young people, older people, sporty people, those who are less mobile, and those who use walking aids or wheelchairs.
Giles Watts, Secretary of Dorchester Transport Action Group commented, “This event will be positive for Dorchester and bring people into the centre of town which will be good for the community and businesses alike. Dorchester Streets Alive is being funded by Dorset Council, Dorset Community Energy, Dorchester Town Council, and Poundbury Wealth Management LLP and we are very grateful for their support”
Acland Road Car Park will be closed all day. There are lots of other car parks around town that will still be available for the public to use.
To get involved, please contact Dorchester Streets Alive at or call Giles Watts at 07840 061712. You can also like/follow the event at www.facebook.com/DorchesterStreetsAlive or @dorchesterstreetsalive on Instagram.
With over 100 members any business in Dorset with less than 30 employees can join Dorchester Chamber for business for £60p/a (no VAT).