Burnham-On-Sea Carnival 2020

Ten community groups in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge have this week shared a grant funding windfall of over £27,000 from the Town Council.

At a meeting of the council’s Finance and Resources Committee last night (Monday, September 26th), town councillors reviewed each of the group’s grant applications in detail before voting to approve these:

  • £10,000 Sedgemoor Community Partnership / Highbridge Morland Hub (had sought £13k)
  • £1,500 St John’s Church, Highbridge fir ‘Blues in the Pews’ events
  • £2,500 The Nornen Berrow Shipwreck Project
  • £2,998 Highbridge and Burnham Carnival
  • £500 Burnham and Highbridge Choral Society (had sought £1,000)
  • £1,020 Highbridge Angling Association
  • £2,000 Pride on Sea
  • £2,500 Burnham Swimming Club
  • £2,500 Zone Youth Club (had sought £4,190)
  • £1,500 Burnham and Highbridge Sea Cadets

Many of the groups had representatives on hand at Monday’s meeting to answer questions from the councillors as they reviewed their applications.

Highbridge and Burnham Carnival was allocated £2,998 towards the costs of holding this November’s Burnham-On-Sea Carnival. Treasurer Lisa Prout explained to councillors that the event has had a “couple of really bad years” financially due to the pandemic and it “needs support” to bounce back. Cllr Mike Muprhy said he supports a “one-off grant as a thank you to the team for all they do.” Cllr Peter Clayton added that “we cannot risk losing such an important event.” Seven councillors voted in favour of the proposed funding with three against.

Highbridge Morland Community Hub

The team from Sedgemoor Partnership and Highbridge’s Morland Hub also gained support for their proposals to launch a new Highbridge library service, use Highbridge’s Trowbridge Hall for their Pantry food service, and unveil a new life-saving defibrillator. Andy Brewer, a trustee at the hub, presented the proposals and responded to questions. Cllr Murphy questioned whether the proposed new library has the backing of the County Council’s library service and was assured it does. Cllr Peter Clayton asked whether the proposed library would be actively used by residents – and Mr Brewer said there has been “lots of interest and it absolutely would be used.” Cllr Barbara Vickers praised the team and said the Hub is a “well-used community asset with 350 people a week,” but she said that the £13k requested was “a lot of money on the face of it” and she proposed £10,000 instead be awarded to include library start-up costs but exclude library running costs. Councillors approved the proposal.

Among the projects receiving support was Burnham’s new ‘Pride On Sea’ (POSE) group who were awarded £2,000 of earmarked funds, dependent on the success of other funding applications and a successful council meeting on October 11th with local Pride stakeholders. The new POSE group plans to hold a Pride event in Burnham next year. Cllr Peter Clayton said: “I’m happy to support this – I would like to see it happen in Burnham, but it’s got to be done right.” POSE’s Andy Burland and Ruth Ackroyd said they are keen to engage with the whole community and also businesses to create an “all inclusive” event. Town councillors voted unanimously in favour of approving ‘earmarked funding’ for the event.

Blues in the Pews at Highbridge St John's Church

St John’s Church in Highbridge received funding towards its ‘Blues In the Pews’ events which have this month re-started after a summer break. Cllr Mike Muprhy praised the organising vicar, Rev Martin Little, adding: “I congratulate you on this very novel way to get people to support the church and Highbridge.” Two councillors voted against the application but a majority were in favour of £1,500.

Burnham and Highbridge Choral Society received £500 of the £1,000 that it was seeking after a divided vote towards the cost of its twice yearly concerts. The group has celebrated its 50th year during 2022.

The SS Nornen project received £2,500 of funding towards its ongoing art and drama history project that has been highlighting the 125th aniversary of the Berrow shipwreck. Cllr Roger Keen said: “It’s fantastic what they are doing.” It was agreed to give a grant on condition of further funding being secured from other grant bodies including the Arts Council and Heritage Lottery Fund.

Highbridge Angling Association received the full £1,020 that it is was seeking towards upgrading its entrance lane and fishing facilities following recent upgrades. Treasurer Chris Brewer explained that the proposals would benefit wildlife as well as help its 300+ members. Cllr Mike Facey praised the club for all its hard work.

Proposals by Burnham Heritage Group to publish a new leaflet featuring Highbridge’s ‘past and present’ were turned down by the council after councillors heard about the plans. The group previously launched a heritage trail leaflet in Highbridge. There was a split vote and it was left to committee chairman Cllr Ganesh Gudka to make the final decision. His casting vote was used to not support funding. Cllr Barbara Vickers said: “We do have a very tight budget at the moment.”

Burnham-On-Sea Swimming Club

Burnham Swimming Club received £2,500 towards its work in helping to encourage local young people into swimming and continue its success at recent competitions. The club’s Lewis Plume said they now have 117 members, 109 of which are children, swimming regularly at Brean Splash. A majority of councillors backed by the grant award.

Burnham Sea Cadets received £1,500 towards the cost of new replacement heaters at its unit in Cassis Close. Carol Roberts said the current heaters were installed in the 1980s and are inadequate. The unit has had a busy year of successful competitions and events.

The Zone Youth Club received £2,500 of the £4,190 it was seeking. The club’s Jayne Lilley said that the club is “growing fast” with 40 new children joining during recent months at the BAY Centre where it is based, giving it a total of 85 members – “our highest ever number.” It comes after a recent successful appeal for help. The application was supported by councillors but they wanted to see other funding bodies approached as well, hence the reduced allocation.

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