The Burnham on Sea Community Centre provides a meeting place for approximately 60 local groups. The constitution of the Community Association is aimed at improving the quality of life for residents of Burnham on Sea and Highbridge via the development of their social, educational, spiritual and physical needs.
The Community centre is located on the edge of Burnham town centre adjacent to the swimming pool. Originally a private house built circa 1838, the building was acquired by Burnham Urban District Council (later Sedgemoor District Council), in 1957. It was the the trustees of the Burnham & Highbridge Community Association in 1971.
In recent years, both the swimming pool and the Community Centre came under threat of being shut down and demolished by Sedgemoor District Council who were looking for ways to cut their budget. In the years where the Community Association believed they would need to find a new home, nothing was done to maintain the building.
Eventually a private buyer was found for the swimming pool and the threat to the Community Centre building lifted. By this time the building was in a sad neglected condition and of course due to the age of the building there were a number of regulations applying to public buildings which it did not meet eg: disability, fire and food safety regulations.
The Community Association and user groups worked hard to raise funds for improvements to the Centre, but it was clear that a substantial amount would be needed to make a significant difference.
The Community Association applied for grants from various bodies and the project became reality when a substantial grant was made by Viridor Credits. Paul Martin met with the Committee and worked with them to plan a scheme which would substantially improve the centre for users.
The scheme included refurbished kitchens, new toilets including accessible wc, structural alteration and refurbishment of west side ground floor to provide storage, offices, meeting room and IT / information hub, refurbishment of some of the first floor rooms, improvements to ventilation, opening of blocked windows on the west side, re-rendering of west wall, damp proofing and improvements to insulation, fire safety measures and energy consumption.
The project started in December 2010 and was brought to very successful completion in May 2011. Despite some major unforeseen problems due to the age of the building and the need to correct the bad practices of the past, the project was a huge success providing bright new facilities which all at the centre were delighted with. Paul Martin worked with and coordinated a team of people to transform the original crumbling, damp and neglected dungeon like spaces which were adapted, improved and created into functional, attractive and comfortable facilities.