February 1, 2011
tourist centre appeals for helpers as plans gather pace
to open Burnham-On-Sea's tourist information centre under the
management of a new charitable group this Spring are progressing
well, with fundraising on track and the date for the handover
being confirmed this week.
The newly-formed charity BIARS (Burnham Information
And Rescue Support) has
also announced that it will hold an open meeting next Thursday
(February 10th) when local people who can register their interest
in helping to run the seafront centre.
The public meeting will be held at 7pm in the
Town Council Chambers in Jaycroft Road and is being aimed at encouraging
potential volunteers to come forward and find out how they can
be a part of the community group running the facilities.
Members of BIARS met this week and heard
how Sedgemoor District Council has confirmed it will be handing
over the centre on March 31st.
Chairman Cllr Neville Jones added: "The district council
has given us a helping hand by agreeing it will not ask us for
rental charges for two years and it will also leave the existing
fixtures and fittings."
He confirmed that local charities BARB and the Coastguard Association
will both be providing beach safety advice and tourist information
at the centre - in addition to offering charity merchandise.
BIARS Treasurer Tom Aston said that fundraising towards the £5,000
cost of setting up the organisation as a formal charity is going
He said: "We have received strong support from local tourism
companies, including Wookey Hole, Burnham Holiday Village, Unity
Farm, the Scott and Harris families at Brean, plus Beachside,
The Oaktree, Warren Guesthouse, Walton House and Burnham Swim
and Sports Academy."
£4,100 has been raised so far, putting us within touching
distance of our £5,000 target, but we do need more local
businesses to help us reach the goal."
Sedgemoor District Council's Tim Mander, who also attended this
week's BIARS meeting, said it was "incredibly encouraging"
to see how the group is progressing. He added that Sedgemoor hopes
to conclude the signing of the tourist centre's lease to BIARS
later in February.
The future of the seafront centre was plunged into doubt in 2009
the cash-strapped district council announced
it could no longer afford to run it, but BIARS stepped forward
to save it and it now aims to turn the centre's fortunes
around and make it profitable again.
Pictured are, top, BIARS Chairman Neville Jones and Treasurer
Tom Ashton with, centre, the BIARS team and, above, the seafront