Ten groups from across the Burnham-On-Sea area received a huge £73,000 lottery funding windfall last night (Tuesday) after taking part in a unique ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event in the town.
Fifteen groups competed for grant cash from the Big Lottery Fund by presenting their case to a capacity audience at Burnham’s Princess Theatre. The spectators and judges then cast their votes for their favourite groups to win the money.
The ten successful groups were Burnham and Highbridge Mens Sheds (£9,300), Hillview Carnival Club (£4,581), In Charley’s Memory (£10,000), Hands Of Change (£10,000), Somerset Time For Youth (£10,000), Apex Play Day (£2,550), Cheddar Community Partnership (£9,200), Towards Tomorrow Together (£4,000), Bridgwater Parent Support Group (£3,450), and Ups And Downs (£9,990).
Somerset Time For Youth received £10,000 towards a new minibus and the group’s Lisa Prout told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “We are over the moon at this news, which will make such a difference for our group, helping us buy a minibus to transport special needs young people across the Burnham-On-Sea area.”
Burnham and Highbridge Men’s Sheds will be using its £9,300 to expand its service and the group’s Mark Canfield said: “We are overjoyed at getting this funding – it will mean we can expand and further grow the group, and also push forward with our new ‘Women’s Sheds’ group.”
Joanna Burridge from In Charley’s Memory, which received £10,000, added: “We are really chuffed to have received £10,000 – this is such a huge boost for us and will make a difference in providing mental health support and services in the Burnham area.”
And Burnham-On-Sea’s Hillview Carnival Club was delighted with its £4,581 of funding, with Lyn Burland saying: “This is a huge boost for us as a small carnival club. It’s a hugely welcome boost that will really help us this coming year!”
Hands Of Change received £10,000 and leader Kay Barrett told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “We are thrilled to have received this funding, which will allow us to launch a new ‘Smiles For Miles’ minibus service in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge.”
And Apex Play Day’s Rosie Pike added: “We are thrilled to have received exactly what we asked for – £2,550 – which means the whole of this summer’s Play Day is now funded!”
Tim Temple from the Big Lottery Fund explained that “Somerset has been under-funded for several years with lottery grants and therefore this event has been held. We are still looking for strong local applications. Events like this help to raise the profile of the groups and also show how lottery funding is acccessible to all.”
He thanked Burnham and Highbridge Town Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Bridgwater Town Council for their support.
The judges for the evening were Cllr Mike Facey of Burnham and Highbridge Town Council, Cllr Mike Cresswell of Sedgemoor District Council, Cllr Kathy Pearce of Bridgwater Town Council, and Tom McCulloch from the Big Lottery Fund. The evening, organised by Spark, was expertly MC’d by Ade Bowen.
Five local groups were not successful on the night – Burnham Pilot Gig Rowing Club, Burnham In Bloom, Burnham Railway Heritage, Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership, and Wembdon Parklands and Community Together. However, Tom McCulloch of the Big Lottery Fund assured them they would still be applicable for funding and would receive help.
The audience was entertained by Brent Knoll Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Gracie Wickens-Sweet during the interval when the votes were counted.
Towards Tomorrow Together gave an emotional presentation about its work in helping parents in Somerset with the loss of new-born babies.
Somerset Time For Youth’s humorous presentation included a minibus setup on the stage of The Princess.
Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership demonstrated some of their local activities that they would like to offer in the Burnham area.
Hands Of Change explained in its presentation why a ‘smiles for miles’ minibus is needed in Burnham and Highbridge.
Joanna Burridge and Dawn Carey from In Charley’s Memory explained the charity’s work in mental health support.
Hillview Carnival Club, with props from its 2017 cart, explained how it helps local youngsters.
The packed audience cast votes on the best presentations to help the groups win the lottery funding.
Young people helped the Apex Park Playday pitch.
Ann Popham outlined Burnham Railway Heritage Group’s project to add an old signal box to Old Station Approach.
Burnham In Bloom’s Dave Perrett arrived in a wheelbarrow to give his group’s presentation!
Burnham’s Gig Rowing Club came completed with an oar for their presentation.