Published: June 23, 2011
Financial shortfall threatens Burnham-On-Sea's Christmas lights

Traders in Burnham-On-Sea have this week been warned that the town's Christmas lights display could be in jeopardy due to a financial shortfall.

Burnham's Chamber of Trade held its AGM on Wednesday evening (June 22nd), where the stark warning was issued.

Rhonda Mills, Chairman of Burnham Chamber of Trade, said a cut in district council funding means the Christmas lights display may have to be scaled back.

"With grant funding being cut by the district council this year, we are in a particularly difficult position and need to decide whether some services such as Christmas lights - which cost us £7,000 annually to install and insure - can go ahead in the same way as previous years," she said. "We need over £5,000."

Sedgemoor District Council used to give grant funding of several thousand pounds to help the display, but gave £1,500 in 2009 and just £750 last year.

Rhonda Mills added: "We would also like to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee next year with various celebrations in Burnham town centre, but again need to look closely at the costs involved."

A number of fundraising ideas are being considered by the Chamber and, while several new volunteers have this week came forward to offer their help, further helpers are needed.

A special networking evening will be held at 6pm on Monday July 25th in Geri's Bistro in College Street, Burnham where local businesses will be able to meet informally and also discuss the funding issues.

During Wednesday's AGM, which was held in Burnham Community Centre, Rhonda was thanked for the huge amount she has put into the role over the past year on behalf of the town, along with secretary Jonathan Walter, treasurer Phil Hemming and committee members Mark Newman, Jerome Andrew, Christine Redman and Tom Ashton.

With more than 100 members, Burnham Chamber of Trade is one of the largest chambers in Somerset and organises a bi-annual town centre shoppers guide and attends various events to promote Burnham as a shopping destination.

Pictured: Top, Last year's Burnham Christmas lights and, above, this week's meeting of Burnham Chamber of Trade


Official Burnham Chamber of Trade official website


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