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Please note: in line with the current advice, all our groups are suspended for the time being. The Centre will be closed during this time but we can still help you; please go to our CONTACT page for information on how to talk to us

Mission Statement

The Balsam Centre exists to reduce inequalities, and provide health, social and cultural opportunities for individuals and communities in its area of benefit.

missison statement

Which means....

...that we are committed to improving your mental health and quality of life by offering services that are simple to access, enjoyable, and with benefits we hope will last you a lifetime!

All this in a friendly, vibrant space where many people come in every day for meetings, activities and creative or quiet time.

Oh - and we're a charity, so any income gets put right back into services.

But what does The Balsam Centre actually DO?

Our services cover all age groups, keeping people connected, preventing isolation and loneliness, and supporting those who are struggling to cope. Starting with our youngest users, head over to our children's page, to see the various activities for with their parents, including a Craft and Play group and a Multiples Group for families with twins or triplets, and Buggy Walks. The Balsam Centre has its very own nursery, Conkers, based down at Churchfields. For teenagers there are youth groups and life skills sessions.

For adults, we are here to support people's wellbeing in a variety of ways. There are activities to bring people together - the cafe, health walks, art and craft classes, games club, a programming course, and the Mens Shed, and we have support groups for people who have been affected by cancer, dementia and postnatal depression. We have an IT drop-in, helping people learn how to use a tablet and get online, opening up new ways to stay in touch with friends and family, and to use the internet safely. Our Job Club can help people with their CV and guide them in searching for jobs.

1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem each year.

With funding from The Big Lottery and Comic Relief, we can help, guide and support people who are feeling unable to cope. The Like Minds Project works with young people and adults, and the Comic Relief Project is helping people experiencing postnatal depression.

And then the building itself hosts numerous exercise and fitness classes, a great way to improve your mental and physical health - head over to Fitness to take a look. For anyone needing advice or transport, take a look at our Services page where you will find more about the CAT Bus and Citizens Advice, as well as information on Midwives and the Health Visitors who also use the centre.

View our short video to see what beneficiaries think of The Centre!

And don't forget, you can get involved too by volunteering. It's a great way to meet people and make new friends - and make a difference to someone else!

Big Lottery

The Big Lottery funds the Like Minds Project working with young people and adults experiencing mental health difficulties, and helps to fund projects preventing isolation such as the Men's Shed.

Comic Relief

Comic Relief funds the project helping mothers - and fathers - who are experiencing postnatal depression.

Masonic Charitable Foundation

Funding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation has part-funded volunteering project for a year, allowing us to increase the number of volunteers we can take on and support. From this, we have been able to start a "Befrienders Project", training volunteers to go in to people's homes to support them when they have issues around anxiety or isolation

Funding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation has also enabled The Balsam Centre to improve its wifi service across the building

You can also volunteer in many of our groups!

There are several ways to get involved here when you want to get out and meet people, and new activities come up all the time. For more information head over to our Adult Activities or Volunteering pages.

Everyone needs friends, don't they?

There are plenty of ways you can help us, from a simple donation to becoming a Friend of The Balsam Centre. Or perhaps your business would like to take up a Challenge?

Ramblers Award

Walk Leaders win the Ramblers Inspiring Walkers Award!

Congratulations to Ali, Simon and Lu who have been honoured for all their hard work in developing the Short Walks and encouraging new walkers to experience the mental and physical benefits of walking.

Our Trustees

Our trustees have the ultimate responsibility for the charity, its assets and its activities.

The trustees have been recruited as representatives of our local community and for their diverse skills and experience, including health and wellbeing, especially mental health, business, finance, charitable activity and management. They ensure we make best use of funds we receive, and set our policies and proceedures, and they shape our long term plans and protect our values and reputation.

Michael Bainbridge

Chair - Michael Bainbridge

John Bartholomew

Vice Chair - John Bartholomew

Paul White

Treasurer - Paul White

Helen Smith

Helen Smith

Emily Showering

Emily Showering

Richard Porter

Richard Porter

Sarah White

Sarah White

Helena Groom

Helena Groom

Sara Kirkby

Sara Kirkby

Data Protection

We look after your private information very carefully. We will not sell your data to any third parties, pension or bitcoin salesmen. Nor will we pass on your details to "phishers" - that charmer who'd like to email you about a lottery you've won in Spain or the man who says he's from your bank...

Seriously though, please click on the link to read our Privacy Policy and see how we treat your data if you use our services or join us as a volunteer.


The Balsam Centre is an independent charity set up by local people for local people.

Whilst the work of the Centre is long term, funding for its projects and services is all too frequently short term. We own the Balsam Centre building and let space in it to earn income. Many people using the Centre kindly make small donations and others sometimes (to our great delight) make large donations! All donations are valued and appreciated.

To see what we do, and hear what people who have benefited from the services have said about us, watch our short video.

If you are thinking of donating, have you considered becoming a Friend of the Balsam Centre? This is a commitment to regular giving of any amount, at any interval, by standing order. Really this is the greatest help we can have as it provides a predictable income, enabling us to maintain services. Even better, if you are a UK tax payer and you ‘tick’ to say so, we can claim another 25% on top of your donation to support the work of the Centre.

Become a Friend here!


Give As You Live

We have signed up to be a part of Give As You Live where you can raise money for us - just by shopping online in your normal way! All you have to do is click on the link, choose your charity - The Balsam Centre - and then create an account.

The site will ask for your name, email address and a password. You can choose your favourite shops, or just use their search bar to find the product you are looking for. When you buy in this way, the retailer will donate an amount to us, and you can see exactly what you have donated. This is a great way for people who would like to support us to do so whilst doing their normal online shopping! All the big retailers are there, Amazon, Ebay, supermarkets, and department stores. Happy Shopping! And thank you for supporting us!!

Virgin Giving

We also have a Virgin Giving charity page where you can donate directly, and Virgin will collect the tax for us! Just click on the button below.

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

It is largely thanks to help from a fund created by a legacy left by one person, that the Balsam Centre has been able to continue its mental health work over the last few years. The help that this has given hundreds of people is a permanent and living memorial to that person’s generosity. A legacy to the Balsam Centre is also one of the simplest ways that you can help the practical work of the Centre.