A major new fundraising appeal has been launched to fund £80,000 of repairs that are needed at Burnham-On-Sea Community Centre.
Burnham and Highbridge Community Association, which runs the 200 year-old building in Berrow Road, started the appeal at the weekend and says it is seeking £10,000 of donations from the public.
Burnham’s Mayor Cllr Mike Facey gave his support to the centre at the launch on Saturday (April 2nd), as pictured. He said it provides “important, well-used community facilities at the heart of our town whcih are greatly valued by groups and residents.”
Paul Hambleton, from the community centre’s roof sub committee, explains: “The north section of our roof closest to the Swim and Sports Academy is in need of full replacement at the front and back.”
“It’s in a very poor state of repair – we have water leaking through the ceilings in several of the meeting rooms and the main hallways during heavy rainfall. We have to put out buckets to avoid flooding.”
“It is costing a lot to keep patching up the roof – £3,000 alone after the recent stormy weather – but that doesn’t sort the the long-term issue.”
“The full replacement of the roof will protect the building as a whole and also help to better insulate it and therefore help us reduce energy bills moving forward.”
“If the work doesn’t go ahead, we will be creating worse problems for the building in the longer term with damp and damage to other parts of the building.”
Paul says the total cost of the project will be around £80,000 and adds: “We will be getting at least three quotations for the work to ensure we get good value-for-money.”
“We already have £15,000 set aside for the project from our own funds and money raised to date. A superb £5,000 has been raised from the Friends of the Community Centre and there have been kind donations from groups who use the centre, who are giving us wonderful support.”
“We are now seeking £10,000 from the public and then plan to apply for grant funding of over £50,000 to get the work underway.”
He says the group has already received advice from the Community Council for Somerset about potential funding sources and the best way to shape the grant bid.
The Friends of the Community Centre are leading on the fundraising activities. “They are planning to hold fundraising activities through the year and are actively seeking donations,” adds Paul.
“A new buy-a-tile scheme has been launched in our hallway at £5 a time and a donors board will be installed to thank those who support us. We have already had good support for this so far and invite residents to pop in and give their backing.”
He explained that while the community centre is owned by Sedgemoor District Council, it is run by Burnham and Highbridge Community Association, a registered charity, which has a full repairing lease on the building with 40 years remaining on the lease. “None of the volunteers are paid except for a part-time caretaker, so we are a volunteer-run centre that is here for the community.”
Paul added that dozens of active groups are based at the busy centre with over 600 sessions per year held. “These range from a war games group and the model railway club to the U3A and a wide variety of local interest groups covering faiths, disabilities, health and hobbies. We offer rooms to community groups at very cost-effective rates.”