Published: March 17, 2011
New Burnham tourist centre team prepare for April 14th opening

Some of the volunteers who will be running Burnham-On-Sea's tourist information centre from mid-April have visited a thriving centre in another part of Somerset this week to pick up advice on how it is run.

Some of the 27 members from BIARS (Burnham Information And Rescue Support) were invited to meet the staff at Shepton Mallet Tourist Information Centre, as pictured above.

BIARS Chairman Neville Jones told "It was a very useful visit - the team got valuable advice on the best merchandise to sell, the kind of information to give, and how Burnham's own Tourist Information Centre could grow in the future."

Burnham's centre will close its doors for the final time under its current control of Sedgemoor District Council next Thursday (March 24th) before BIARS takes over.

The grand opening of the new-look Burnham TIC has been scheduled for Thursday April 14th.

Arrangements for the opening were discussed at a meeting of the BIARS volunteers this week.

Treasurer Tom Ashton said that over £5,500 has been raised so far from local tourist attractions to form the new BIARS charity. "That's a good start, but more funding will be needed in the months to come to keep the TIC running," he warned.

BIARS is also seeking more volunteers to join its ranks and anyone who can spare an hour or more on a regular basis to help in the TIC is invited to get in contact via the BIARS web page on here.

The new BIARS logo and other branding has been finalised this week, having been donated by Burnham-based digital artist Tim Duke.

Two local charities, BARB and the Coastguard Association, will be selling merchandise at the centre while also providing sea safety advice.

The centre was plunged into jeopardy in 2009 when cash-strapped Sedgemoor District Council announced it could no longer afford to run it, but BIARS stepped in to save it and now hopes to turn the centre's fortunes around.

Pictured are, top, BIARS volunteers during the visit to Shepton Mallett TIC and, above the BIARS logo and Burnham's seafront centre


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