Seventeen community groups in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge have this week been given a huge £28,466.88 boost during the biggest ever grants hand-out from the Town Council.

At a meeting of the council’s Finance and Resources Committee on Monday (September 9th), councillors reviewed each of the group’s grant applications in detail before approving these:

  • Missy K Kids £1,700
  • Burnham & Highbridge Band £5,000
  • The Zone Youth Club £3,500
  • Burnham United FC £3,000
  • Highbridge Chamber of Trade £2,500
  • Monarchs Gymnastics £2,286
  • BEES £2,000
  • Burnham-On-Sea Swimming Club £1,692
  • Burnham Hockey Club £1,500
  • Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Trade £975
  • Burnham & Highbridge Choral Society £900
  • Burnham & Highbridge Fritzlar Twinning Society £900
  • Burnham-On-Sea Baptist Church £900
  • Burnham & District in Bloom £750
  • Go Socialize £240
  • Burnham & Highbridge RAF Air Cadets £323.88
  • West of England MS Therapy Centre £300

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

Missy K Kids, which provides dance sessions and youth theatre in Highbridge for 15 adults and 60 children with learning difficulties, applied for £10,000 towards the costs of a mini bus, equipment, a trip to Portugal to compete in the dance world cup next year, plus internal renovations to Highbridge Social Club where the group is based.

Leader Melissa Love explained that the group “has done a lot of fundraising already” and wants to improve the Social Club to make it a “base for young people in the community – we want to create something special for children to enjoy.”

Mayor Cllr Andy Brewer said: “It really is commendable what this group is trying to do – they are sighting their sights and ambitions really high, but I have reservations about the level of money being applied for. I think we should support them to get established, but not with the full amount applied for.”

Cllr Mike Murphy agreed, adding: “It is wonderful what you are trying to do, but I am a little concerned that it’s a business that we are being asked to support here – the Social Club. The Town Council can’t support individual businesses. This group is only three months into this new venture and while I think it could be successful and you are to be commended for being imaginative, I think it’s over ambitious at this stage.”

Cllr Peter Clayton proposed the Town Council approve £1,700 towards the costs of the group’s mini bus, which was approved by councillors.

Burnham and Highbridge Town Band was granted £5,000 towards the £13,000 cost of repairs to the group’s band room which is located next to the Bay Centre playing fields.

Cllr Brewer said: “They do a fantastic job in the town and we should support them.” 

Town councillors unanimously backed the group’s application.

Burnham United‘s £3,000 grant funding bid was accepted by town councillors for its project to proceed with upgrades to its football facilities.

Cllr Clayton added: “The club’s health and well-being aspects are priceless – it gets an awful lot of people out playing.”

The Zone Youth Club received £3,500 towards its work in helping 20-30 young people at its weekly youth sessions.

Cllr Phil Harvey said: “Three to four years ago, this group was almost in melt down. I congratulate you on what you’ve done. This is a golden example of social inclusion.”

Cllr Brewer added: “I recently made a visit to the Zone Youth Club and was very impressed with how well run and organised they are. I am more than happy to support this application.”

Highbridge Chamber of Trade received £2,5000 towards the town’s Christmas lights and switch-on. Secretary Eileen Shaw said the plans for the community event are already progressing well.

Monarchs Gymnastics received £2,286 towards a new heating system at its base in Highbridge, replacing the former system which is seven years old. 

Cllr Louise Parkin said the group’s work is “greatly commendable,” adding: “We know how much work you put in – it’s fantastic.”

Burnham community theatre group BEES received £2,000 towards its plans for an “immersive theatre production” later this year when it will transform The Princess Theatre’s main auditorium during its performances of Bugsy Malone. New seating will introduced for 120 people, styling it like a club.  “It will be a brand new experience in Burnham for an amateur production,” said the group.

Burnham-On-Sea Swimming Club, which has been running for 45 years, successfully applied for £1,692 towards the cost of getting new coaches trained, and allowing the club’s swimmers to compete for free.

Burnham Hockey Club also received £1,500 towards its work in trying to develop its junior section and grow its membership. Cllr Clayton welcomed the “health and well-being benefits and getting young people involved.”

Burnham Chamber Of Trade‘s bid for £975 towards half of the costs of organising Burnham’s Christmas lights switch-on were also approved by councillors.

Burnham and Highbridge Choral Society received £900 towards its next performances later in the year.

The Fritzlar Twinning Society received £900 towards its work in the town, while Burnham Baptist Church received £900 for refurbishment work, and Burnham In Bloom got a £750 boost for its work.

An application by Go Socialize for £500 was partially rejected with councillors approving £240, because it contained a bid for funding for new gaming consoles. “I don’t see how games consoles are socialising,” said Cllr Gardiner-White. Cllr Tolley added: “I suggest we give funding for rent but not for the games consoles.”

Burnham’s RAF air cadets were awarded £323.88 towards their work. Cllr Parkin said: “They do phenomenal work and this will help them to grow.”

The final application was from West of England MS Therapy Centre which received £300 towards its work in helping local sufferers. The Mayor said: “It does cover people in our area and I know it relies on voluntary contributions – I support this application.”