The Balsam Centre is truly a centre for the community, with a wide range of support, activities and groups available. Research into mental health clearly shows what a detrimental effect loneliness and isolation has on our health, and being more active, through exercise and socialising has long lasting beneficial effects. Throughout the year we have courses running such as computer classes and one-off workshops - we've just seen our first one-day photography course, and opportunities to meet other people through the Tuesday Loose Ends Cafe or the Games Club. The Men's Shed is the perfect chance to come and work on community projects - fixing planters or making owl boxes for the Hawk and Owl Trust, and now repairing the benches in Wincanton Recreation Ground. Citizens Advice Bureau offer free advice sessions at the centre, to help you with any legal or financial issues, along with one-off workshops run by CAB on best energy and financial deals. Keep your eyes on the website or for posters in the centre for what activities will be coming up soon. Like us on Facebook to get updates automatically.
Painting and Drawing Chatter Group 10am - 12 noon
Flexercise (and chat!) Milborne Port 10am - 12.30pm in the village hall
NEW Soft Furnishings Class Templecombe 10am - 12pm in the Social Club
Citizens Advice Bureau 10am - 3pm every Monday - SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
Men's Shed - Open Workshop 10am - 12.30pm
Health Walk - Brisk 10am - 10.50am, starting from The Balsam Centre
Pilates 10.30am - 11.30am
Flexercise 11.00am - 12.00pm
Short Health Walk - Gentle starting from the Medical Centre 11.30am - 12noon
Lip Reading Classes 11.30am - 12.30pm
Women's Coffee Morning Hooga's Cafe 10am - 12 noon
Men's Shed - Open Workshop 10am - 12.30pm
Textiles 10am - 12 noon
Pilates 10.15am - 11.15am
Pilates 11.35am - 12.35am
Tanners Cafe 10.30am - 12 noon CAMELOT ROOM, MILBORNE PORT
Stourhead Buggy & Toddler Walks 9.30am for 10am start every other week, meet at Stourhead
Pilates 11.35am - 12.35pm
Tai Chi 1pm - 2pm open to all levels
Wincanton Walk and Tree Talk 10.30am SATURDAY 9th MAY ONLY. Meet at St Peter's Church gate
Do you enjoy a challenge? The games group meet twice a week and play board and card games - you can even bring a game if we don't have it, or we will try and find it. NEW evening Scrabble club coming soon.....
Wednesdays 10.30am - 12.30pm, £1
Fridays 10.30am - 12.30pm, £1
This is run by a friendly group who just enjoy playing games. No need to book - just turn up, play and enjoy the company!
Textiles - An opportunity for
knitters and sewers to work on their own projects,
chatting and sharing ideas whilst they work. No booking
necessary - turn up and join in! Thursdays 10am - 12
noon, £2 per session.
Soft Furnishings Class - learn or get help to make curtains and cushions. Mondays, at Templecombe Social Club, 10am - 12 or fortnightly at The Balsam Centre 2pm - 4pm. Booking essential, £3 per week - read more
Painting and Drawing Chatter Art Group - A paint /draw /chat group offering support to all in a friendly group. £3 per session - read more
Art Classes - starting 14th October, 2 - 4pm, £3 per session. Learn to develop your drawing / painting / printing skills - read more
Evening Life Drawing - 5.30pm - 7pm, £5 per session. read more
The Balsam Centre is here for everyone! It was set up to give people local access to social, health, cultural and practical opportunities - and that’s just what it does.
Alongside this, the Centre’s remit is to provide more specialist information, guidance and support at times when we don’t have all - or any of the answers. If you are finding it hard to cope and would like to talk to someone, you can contact us to see if our wellbeing service can help.
The benefits of meditation are proven to prevent depression reoccuring and reduce anxiety and worry, so if you are struggling or feeling overwhelmed these sessions can help.
The group is run by Ali, a very experienced teacher.
If you are interested in joining the group, please call the centre to talk to Ali or leave your number with Sarah and Ali will call you back.
The classes run on the first and third Tuesday of the month, 2.30pm - 3.30pm.
Don't just sit at home - come and enjoy craft, music, and other activities and meet new people.
Stimulate your senses and memories, singing, looking at photos, and share with others. This is a time for carers too, a chance to meet other carers for a catch-up.
The group is run by Trish who has years of experience with people who have dementia.
Every Thursday, 2pm - 4pm.
Contact Trish Foers 01963 31842 or email TrishREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk
In the Somerset Outstanding Care Awards, the group has won bronze in the Supported Living Award. This is wonderful news for the group, and all credit to Trish for her hard work to make this group so successful, and the fantastic volunteers who support all those that attend.
Come together for a social afternoon with crafts and activities
Every Wednesday, 2pm - 4pm, at Templecombe Sports and Social Club
Fee: £2 per session
Contact Trish at The Balsam Centre for more details - 01963 31842
Every Thursday, 10.30am - 12 noon, in the Camelot Room at Milborne Port Village Hall, Springfield Rd.
Fee: £2 - including a cuppa, biscuits and activities.
We do a range of activities, which we can adjust to suit everyone’s ability, including arts & crafts, walking the local area, board games, keep fit, indoor kurling and cooking.
We are a friendly group with a great mix of people who like a chat and a laugh when we meet.
Every Thursday, 10am - 12 noon, at Hooga's Cafe, High St, Wincanton. The group will be meeting at different cafes, so check the leaflet for more information.
Drop in for coffee and enjoy a casual, friendly chat with others.
This coffee morning is open to everyone, whether you have lived here all your life or you're new to the area and haven't met many people yet.
Because of the room size, we need to limit the number of people attending to 8, so you will need to book a place each week you want to attend. The fee is £3 per session.
To book a place, call 01963 31842 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information or to book a place contact Claire on 07922437466 or The Balsam centre on 01963 31842
Every Tuesday, 11.30am - 12.30pm, at The Balsam Centre.
If you are struggling with your hearing aids in social settings, this class can help - learn to lip read so you won't have to struggle through all the background noise! This class is taught by a qualified lip reading tutor and the room has a loop system so you can set your hearing aids to pick up the tutor's microphone.
This is a small friendly group that you can practice with - come along and join us!
Contact the Centre for more information - email@example.com, or call 01963 31842
Bring your own materials - whatever you want to work in!
THIS CLASS IS NOW FULL BUT YOU CAN GO ON A WAITING LIST
call 01963 31842 for more information.
Open to everyone who would like to practice drawing the human body. There will be no formal teaching; just come along and sketch. We use 4 models, 2 women and 2 men, who work on a rota so there is a different model each week over a four week period.
Whether you are a beginner or an expert, everyone is welcome - don't feel intimidated - just bring your own materials - and easel if you like to use it. We do have A2 drawing boards and clips.
Do you have a soft furnishing - cushions, curtains, etc - project that you would like some guidance, assistance and support with?
We are running a sewing group to help you, or to inspire you to start your project. This is a small group that will be overseen by two volunteers from interior design and textile industries. Maximum 5 places, booking essential.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01963 31842 if you would like a place or want to go on the waiting list.
This is a soft furnishing class - cushions, curtains and blinds. Beginners are very welcome; Julie, an experienced textiles teacher, will guide you though to making your first piece. Bring your own sewing machine if you have one. Places will be limited but if you are interested in joining the class, please email email@example.com or call 01963 31842
Forgotten how to attach a photo to an email? Or do you want help to download Skype and set it up? Perhaps you are struggling to work out how to use your new mobile phone. We can help!
The IT-Help! sessions are run by a group of volunteers who will give you one-to-one help with your laptop, tablet - ipad or android, - or mobile phone - bring it with you. You just need to call us - 01963 31842 - to book an appointment.
Forgotten how to attach a photo to an email or don't know how to set up your new phone? Want to know how to make sure you don't go over your data allowance on your phone? Need some help on how to use word processing or spreadsheet apps - or any other apps? Whatever your problem, we can help.
Are you unemployed, wanting to change jobs, or perhaps looking for an apprenticeship or traineeship? It can be hard doing it by yourself - so come and get some support!
We have experienced people who can advise you - and help you find the motivation to get you on the right track. We can link you in to other activities in the centre, including volunteering to get you work experience. You can have one-to-one support if you need it.
A volunteer from the IT-Help! sessions will also be on hand if you need assistance with your tablet, mobile or laptop, if you're having difficulties with your device or need a refresh on Word or Excel.
STARTING SOON, 11am - 12.30pm
Learn to speak English in a friendly group with a qualified TEFL teacher. This is a small class - maximum 6 people - and just £4 per week.
Learning to speak the language will help you enjoy your local community, make friends, and find work! We can even help you practice your English if you want to volunteer in other groups within The Balsam Centre.
For more information call 01963 31842 or email infoREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEbalsamcentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk
The choir is back, singing at the Balsam Centre every Monday evening, 6 - 7pm.
Learn to sing in a fun, friendly and relaxed environment. No audition or previous experience is necessary. Join us to sing songs from the shows, gospel, traditional and lots of other inspiring music.
Singing not only improves your confidence, but scientific evidence has proved the effects on mood and well-being.
For more information talk to Joanne on salesREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEpitchperfectREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk or 07800 767712. And you can look at our website.
Starting in Australia, Men's Sheds have now expanded worldwide. Many men found that once they retired they lost their social network so "Men in Sheds" started, bringing retired or unemployed men together to work on community projects and to socialise again. If you enjoy pottering about in your shed, or you'd like to work on a project - your own or a community project - with others, then come and meet the "shedders".
The group started early in 2014 and have already made new planters for the Growing Space (the gardens that surround the centre), a sieving tool, poster racks, hedgehog boxes, easels, and repaired some of our chairs. They have worked with the Hawk and Barn Owl Trust to produce Barn Owl boxes and are now making Little Owl boxes.
Having seen reports about the poor state of the park benches in Wincanton, the shedders have volunteered their services to restore and repair them, so this is set to be the next big project.
You don't have to be a carpenter to join; someone will help you out. But we won't turn you away if you are an expert either!
Tuesdays, 10am - 12.30pm
The shedders have now honed the design and building of the owl boxes to a fine art and now they are moving on to other woodworking projects. If you have a project you'd like to work on, or if you'd just like to get involved, come along!
If you would like to commission the shedders to build you something, then come and have a chat.
With many thanks to SSDC, the Blackmore Vale Lions, and an anonymous donor, we have finally extended our shed! We have the new lathe in place - and with space to operate it!
Drop in for a cuppa - you no longer have to share a stool to sit down!
10am - 12.30pm
This workshop is open to any woodworking projects. Maybe you have a project you didn't quite finish - well, here's the place you can finally complete it and get some friendly help and advice too. Or help us make planters or other items we can sell to raise money. We welcome all levels of competence in our groups, from complete beginners to experts.
We are looking to run a workshop for men in the early stages of dementia who would like to join a small supportive group for some woodworking sessions with chat and coffee. If you are interested please call Annette 01963 31842.
All the proceeds go to a great cause - the Men's Shed! It helps us buy more wood and equipment.
And we take commissions!
From time to time we are very kindly donated tools - all much appreciated. And on occasion we are totally stumped as to what the tool actually is. So here's one of them - any guesses? Drop me an email - AnnetteREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk or call 01963 31842.
We have had fantastic support to get the shed going. Dennis Massey, from the local Tools for Self Reliance group, gave us great advice on second hand tools and even travelled across England to collect an Ebay pillar drill for us. Sadly, Dennis has since passed away. Full of energy, he was a great inspiration and he will be greatly missed.
Through the Somerset Community Foundation, local furniture manufacturer, Myakka, have been very supportive, providing funds to allow the Men's Shed to purchase new tools including a woodturning lathe.
Triton Tools based in Yeovil have encouraged the Mens Shed movement in the UK (and Triton sponsor the Mens Sheds in Australia), and Steve Hewson has dropped in on our own shed to see the "shedders" in action, and donated new equipment to us.
We are very grateful for any support we can get. We would be very interested in sourcing wood for the shed to enable us to create new projects, so if your business has offcuts that aren't needed (apart from MDF), we would be able to put them to good use.
If you have a skilled workforce, would you be interested in donating time to us, perhaps by releasing an employee for a couple of hours a month? Call Annette 01963 31842 or email AnnetteREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk to discuss it.
Whenever possible our salads, vegetables and herbs come from the gardens and our meat comes from the local butcher, Andrew Barclay. All the food is nut-free for those with nut allergies.
Lunch is a set menu, with a choice of vegetarian or meat as the main course, dessert, and tea or coffee to finish. All this for £5 - or if you're over 60 then it's just £3.50!
If you'd like to get involved in the cafe, we are looking for people who would like to join a rota of people who might like to help serve and clear away. So if you can spare some time on a Tuesday, between 11 - 2.30pm, even once or twice a month, please come in and talk to Annette (01963 31842 or email AnnetteREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk).
With a team of 14 volunteer walk leaders, the centre runs walks to suit all levels of fitness.
To get you started we have very short walks, 30 minute long, which are all on level pavements starting from The Balsam Centre. If you have mobility problems, are recovering from a joint replacement, or you don't exercise but have decided you want to start, then this is a good place to begin. There are 2 versions of this walk, a fast and a slower one. You can then work up to the 40 minute / 1 hour walks, starting with the shortened 40 minute version, before taking on the full hour. These walks start and end at The Balsam Centre and may have some hills - we are in Wincanton after all! - and may take you on rougher ground.
But if you are reasonably fit, enjoy walking in the countryside and want to find a group to walk with, then it will be the long walks you'll want, averaging 4 - 6 miles, about 2 hours, in length.
We also run Buggy Walks in the gardens of the beautiful Stourhead Estate, on level paths suitable for buggies - but you can also bring your babe in a sling!
Whatever your level of ability, we have a group you can walk with. Everyone is welcome, all walk leaders are trained and there is no charge for the walks…that is the beauty of walking, it is free!
Everyone needs to fill in a short health questionnaire when they join the scheme. You can download the form and hand it in before you start your chosen walk - click here for the Short and Buggy Walks registration, or here for the Long Walks registration.
If you are interested in our walks or just want more information please phone the Balsam Centre on 01963 31842
We would ideally like a bigger team as the coming brochure will have some gaps in it, due to a current shortage of leaders. If you are interested in becoming a health walk leader, we can offer you full training and the opportunity to lead as many walks as you would like. All walks will have 2 walk leaders on them and the short walk leaders usually walk every week on either the 30 or the 50 minute walks. The leaders for the long walks generally take responsibility for one walk a month, which also involves walking and checking the route prior to the date of the walk for any problems - overgrown rights of way, fallen trees, overflowing rivers, or stroppy cattle! However, if you can't make one a month even once every two or three months would fill our gaps. Call Annette on 01963 31842 or email AnnetteREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk
We all know that regular exercise is good for us but sometimes it can be hard to get started. Gyms and jogging are not for everybody which is why we have come together, under the national Walking For Health scheme, to help get Wincanton walking! Walking improves circulation; lowers blood pressure; and reduces our risk of heart disease and strokes. In fact it will help prevent many health conditions including, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease and many others. Walking is beneficial for people experiencing depression, low mood and anxiety; it can improve self-esteem and of course help with weight management. In fact experts say “walking is the nearest activity to perfect exercise”. And, of course, it is very sociable!
Level 1 Easy/beginner level, on pavements and over flat ground, suitable for all mobility levels. A great place to start to build up fitness levels, and enjoy the fresh air! This walk has 2 walk leaders so there is the opportunity to walk slower than the rest of the group. You can join all the walkers for coffee before the walk at 11am in the Centre. Tuesdays, walk starts 11.30am
Faster and longer, some hills, some rough ground on certain walks. For those who are more mobile and who want to pick up the pace. For those that are moving up from the Medical Centre walk or want to ease into the full hour, there is the opportunity to shorten the walk; let the walk leaders know and they will split the walk after 40 minutes. Stop at the Centre for coffee after the walk. Tuesdays, walks starts 10am
For experienced walkers and fit novices, these walks are typically between 3.5 and 5.5 miles long. They start in more remote locations outside of Wincanton, so a car - or a lift! - is necessary. These walks will often include stiles, hills, muddy tracks and uneven ground; if you have walking poles you might find it useful to bring them. The views are often stunning so you might want to bring a camera too. Occasionally, walks will end by a pub and the group will eat lunch together but it is optional.
Generally, there is a walk a week, meeting at the start of the walk at 10am. The walk day varies each week - download the brochure via the link below to find out more.
Many of our walk leaders are very knowledgeable about the local area and will be able to tell you about the villages you pass though. In the summer we like to go further afield and hire a coach to take us longer walk where we can enjoy a picnic.
If you are interested in joining this friendly walking group, please drop into the centre to register and fill in a health questionnaire. Booking is essential so that we can let you know if the walk has to be changed or cancelled due to bad weather. For more information, call 01963 31842.
The Stourhead Buggy and Toddler walk takes place every other Thursday, meeting 10am at the Visitors Centre but not during Autumn half term when the gardens are very busy and there will be no walk at Easter or in the Christmas week.
This is a lovely walk around the beautiful gardens at Stourhead. Entry is free for every adult with a child - extra adults must pay the garden entry fee. The paths are level and ideal for buggies and toddlers, but you can of course bring your babe in a sling or baby backpack instead! The walks last about 45 minutes - and we usually end up in the cafe for a coffee and chat.
You can also check if the walk is on by going to our Buggy Walks facebook page - we will post if a walk is cancelled or where we might be walking in the holidays when Stourhead is unavailable to us.
"I am writing to tell you how much I appreciate Terri's buggy walk at Stourhead. It is so important that mums and babies/tots can get together, exercise, have fresh air, and experience congenial, peaceful surroundings whilst sharing their experiences and concerns, helping each other to cope with the day-to-day pressures of modern families, and have a well deserved break. - JB
Walk leaders are essential to make these walks happen. They are fully trained volunteers who enjoy being outside and socialising with others. If you are interested in volunteering as a Walk Leader, call 01963 31842 and speak to Annette. You can bring your child with you when you lead a walk.
Jonathan Astill, a local arboriculturalist, will be leading another walk through Wincanton, looking at our local trees. He will be talking about how to identify trees, why trees are good to have around us, and which trees work best where.
The walk is free (but there will be a collection tin for donations, to raise money for The Balsam Centre)
If you would like to join us on the walk, please call The Balsam Centre to book your place - 01963 31842.
The benefits of keeping fit are well documented, from the obvious keeping in shape, increased heart function and stamina, to the rewards of better mental agility. We offer various ways of getting started; there's an Exercise to Mobilise class to help you regain strength and mobility after a joint replacement or other operation. We have various lengths of walks from beginner's strolls to advanced hikes. And we have Pilates classes for beginners, improvers, and experienced exercisers aimed at building your core strength.
We also have a new exercise class for mothers with their babies/ toddlers/ preschoolers called Sweaty Mamas so you won't even need to find childcare! Follow this link for more information.
If you are a qualified fitness instructor looking to run a class, talk to us about hiring a room - The Shed makes a fantastic exercise space. We hope to run a yoga class soon and would like to offer other classes.
Pilates is a completely balanced form of exercise, with each muscle group being worked and stretched equally. It combines the focus on suppleness that you find in yoga with the emphasis on strength building found in the gym. Pilates is recognised and recommended by the medical profession.
Absolute Beginners - small class, average 10 people. Short course = £26
Experienced - small class, average 10 people. Full cost per single booked session = £5.95 or pay as you go = £6.50.
Discounted rate of £5.20 per session when booking a full month.
Discounted rate of £5.65 per session when booking one week less than a full month.
Duration of each session, approximately one hour
Classes are led by a qualified, experienced instructor. Contact Karen Stiles on 01963 – 370432 (Office/Home) for more information.
PLEASE NOTE: there will be no class on the 1st of May.
A gentle flow class that combines movement with breath improving strength, flexibility, balance with a some relaxation at the end.
Suitable for all levels - beginners welcome!
For enquiries or to book your place, 07855943008 or email: don.jenREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEbtopenworldREMOVE.REMOVEcomREMOVE
£2.50 per session - all welcome!
Every Tuesday 11.00am to 12.00 noon in the Veronica Room at the Centre
Exercise for an hour followed by a cuppa and chat after!
Every Monday, 10am - 12.30pm in Milborne Port Village Hall
Contact 01963 31842 or Claire on 07922437466 for more information
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.
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.
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, and 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!
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!!
We now 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.