np i hate to see people spend more money than they have to so i try and give as much info as possible
A bridge is basically a compact with a very long lens. It isn't more advanced than a good compact, and won't give you any better image quality. You don't need a bridge for portraits or macro photography. I agree with the previous post that a Panasonic G3 would be a far, far better option. It handles like a DSLR and has similar features, and the image quality is much more akin to a DSLR. If you're going to take photography up as a hobby it would be an infinitely better choice. On the downside you won;t get good macro right out of the box, but you could use inexpensive screw-on close-up lenses (available for under £20).
Alternatively look at used DSLRs. I've just been loking on Camera Jungle and you can buy a Canon EOS 400D, with 18-55mm lens, for about £180. I'm sure there are a lot of other options available if you look around. I'd advice buying froma reputable dealer though, rather than privately, as you'll get the security of a warranty and the knowlegde it has been checked over.
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