Almost £15,000 of funding has been awarded to Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge community groups by the Town Council this week.

The groups receiving funding are Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge Sea Cadets, Burnham-On-Sea & Highbridge Men’s Shed, BOSfest, Burnham Association of Sports Clubs, Burnham-On-Sea & Highbridge Choral Society, Vale of Avalon Vintage Vehicle Run, the Friends of Burnham Beach and In Charley’s Memory.

Members of the Council’s Policy and Finance Committee closely examined nine bids for funding at their public meeting on Monday evening (April 24th) before allocating funding.

Burnham’s Sea Cadets received £2,000 towards its plans to expand its services. Cllr Janet Ken said: “I fully support this organisation – they provide major life opportunities for young people.” Cllr Martin Cox added: “They are very active and have recently been on the edge financially, so I’m happy that we should support them.”

Burnham and Highbridge Mens Sheds received £1,000 towards its ongoing work to expand its service. It us growing all the time and has 56 male members and 13 ladies and is looking to further expand its group.

The BASC sports club outlined its application for £10,000 towards a new £37,000 platform lift to enable it to become a disabled-friendly and accessible building. Cllr Phil Harvey said: “I support this project in principal, but the amount requested concerns me when we have just £45,000 to give in grant funding for the full year.”

Cllr David Hogarth said he would like to see the BASC club do more self-fundraising, while Cllr Janet Keen said that because “nine parishes use the BASC ground, they should all pay a ninth of the costs, amounting to around £4,000 each.” But councillors agreed to give £5,000 (half the amount requested) and consider a further application later in the year when other grant funding sources have been approached by the BASC team.

Burnham’s BosFest received £1,500 of funding. Cllr Peter Clayton said: “This event is run extremely well and was well supported last year – we should definitely be supporting this application.”

The organisers of the annual Vale of Avalon Vintage Car Run received £300 towards the costs of holding the event, which visits Burnham each year. Cllr Peter Clayton said: “This event attracts a lot of people into Burnham and is good for our town.”

The Friends of Burnham Beach, which runs regular beach cleans, received £300 towards its beach cleaning events. Cllr Phil Harvey told the meting: “I was impressed with their application which fully fits in with the Town Council’s environmental policy.”

Burnham-On-Sea & Highbridge Choral Society received £1,000. Cllr Keen said the group provides “untold pleasure to many, both in the audience and for those singing.”

In Charley’s Memory requested £9,960 towards expanding the provision of its mental health support services in Burnham but received £3,500. Cllr Janet Keen said: “This organisation has already received just under £50,000 of public funds and donations in recent years, including £11,600 from the Town Council, and I cannot support a further request.”

But Cllr Kate Lawson added: “I feel strongly that we should be supporting In Charley’s Memory given that government funding for mental health support are being cut back and services are almost non-existent now in the Burnham-On-Sea area.” But Cllr David Hogarth said: “I don’t under-estimate what ICM are trying to do, but we have very limited funding.” A motion from Cllr Lawson and Harvey to award £7,500 to ICM was out-voted and a counter motion of £3,5000 was agreed.

The final application was from Life Education Wessex, which provides health and wellbeing advice on issues such as drugs and alcohol to local children. However, a decision on whether to give funding was deferred to a later date when it emerged that this was a restrospective application for services already given.

The final decision on whether the funding for the groups goes ahead will rest with the full Town Council at its upcoming meeting in May.