Burnham's community-run tourist centre celebrates successful first
tourist information centre made a small overall profit and dealt
with 76,000 visitors in its first year under the management of
a new community group of volunteers, it was confirmed this week.
(Burnham Information and Rescue Support) held its first annual
general meeting in Burnham's Princess Theatre on Tuesday when
members looked back at a successful first year.
Jones, Chairman of BIARS, told the meeting: "It has been
a remarkable year since BIARS took over from Sedgemoor District
Council in April 2011. In that time, the centre has been turned
around from being on the brink of closure to a thriving success."
team of very dedicated volunteers has made the centre profitable
again and dealt with a huge 76,000 visitors in the first 12 months
- a great accomplishment!"
Ashton, BIARS treasurer, said the organisation had turned around
the centre's finances, making a profit and covered our high ongoing
added that the centre had raised £930 for the Coastguard
Association and £1,200 for BARB during the year, which are
the two charities that are partners in the organisation.
has been achieved here is remarkable and beyond what anyone expected,"
he said, although he cautioned: "While we are in a positive
position now thanks to all the work of our fundraisers and local
supporters, our finances could be hit in the future without the
continued support of Sedgemoor District Council, particularly
around reduced rates relief."
Jefferies, BIARS operations manager, praised the team of 30 active
volunteers who operate the centre on a day-to-day basis. "We
have a wonderful team spirit and are so lucky to have such a dedicated
team of volunteers, without whom none of this would be possible,"
Smout, secretary, gave an update on plans to turn BIARS into a
community interest company (CIC) and explained that work is underway
to put together the formal application.
Newman explained some of the work that had taken place to develop
awareness of the BIARS 'brand' in the Burnham area around publicity
of the group.
Tourism Assoiciation's Bob Nicholson thanked BIARS for the work
it has done, adding: "On behalf of Somerset's tourism businesses,
we thank BIARS for doing such a fantastic job. The tourism trade
has had a difficult year in a tough economic climate and having
facilities like this in place is more important than ever."
the election for committee members, Neville Jones was re-elected
Chairman, Dennis Davey as Vice Chairman, Stephanie Lewis as Treasurer,
Ken Smout as Secretary, Ian Jefferies as the Operations Manager
and Coastguard representative, Mark Newman as the publicity and
BARB representative, and Tom Ashton as the tourism representative.
volunteers hand out tourist and community information and also
provide sea safety advice and merchandise from BARB and the Coastguard
Association. New volunteers are always welcome and can join up
via the link below.
Top, volunteers at the BIARS AGM in Burnham this week
BIARS web page