courses and activites for
Make a donation

Groups, Activities and Advice for Adults

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.

Courses, Groups & Advice Timetable

Monday am

Painting and Drawing Chatter Group 10am - 12 noon - please book

Flexercise (and chat!) Milborne Port 10am - 12.30pm in the village hall - please book

Soft Furnishings Class Templecombe 10am - 12pm in the Social Club - waiting to re-open

Monday pm

Tai Chi 12.30pm - 1.30pm for people with Parkinson's - please check availability

Women's Shed 1.30pm - 4pm - booking essential

Tai Chi 2pm - 3pm open to all abilities

Choir 6pm - 7pm - waiting to re-open

Retro Gamers Club 6pm - 8pm - waiting to start

Tuesday am

Men's Shed - Open Workshop 10am - 12.30pm - please book

Health Walk - Brisk 10am - 10.50am, starting from The Balsam Centre

Pilates with Louise 9.30am - 10.30am - booking essential

Flexercise 11.00am - 12.00pm - please book

Short Health Walk - Gentle starting from The Balsam Centre 11.30am - 12noon

Confidence Club 11.30am - 1pm - one off sessions, please book

Tuesdays pm

Loose Ends Cafe On hold - until new volunteers are recruited

Life Drawing 5.30pm - 7pm - call for availability

Wednesday am

Men's Shed - Open Workshop 10am - 12.30pm - please book

English classes 11am - 12.30pm - waiting to start

Wednesdays pm

Introduction to Drawing 1pm - 3pm, STARTING 2ND MARCH - 6TH APRIL, 6 places only

IT Help! Sessions 1.30pm - 3pm - after 17th May, please book

Games Club 1pm - 3pm - please book


Mindfulness Group 2pm - 3pm - 1st WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH please book

Yoga with Libby 4pm - 5pm - booking essential

Thursday am

Men's Shed - Open Workshop 10am - 12.30pm - please book

Pilates with Louise 9.30am - 10.30am - booking essential

Pilates with Louise 11.00am -12.00pm - booking essential

Textiles 10am - 12 noon - please book

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 - waiting to restart

Thursdays pm

Early Dementia Group 2pm - 4pm Call for availability

Friday am

Job Club 11am - 1pm - waiting to re-start

IT Help! Sessions 11am - 1pm - waiting to re-start

Fridays pm

Tai Chi 1pm - 2pm open to all abilities

Saturday am

Open Mental Health

Help is on hand for everyone

The Balsam Centre has joined forces with the NHS and local voluntary organisations to create a new alliance called Open Mental Health, providing mental health services to residents in Somerset, 24/7. There is round the clock support for all ages, when you need it, with a friendly person at the other end of the line, a trained professional, who will listen and support you. You are not alone.

Call freephone 0800 138 1692


Games Club

Do you enjoy a challenge? The games group every Wednesday 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 1pm - 3pm, £1- BOOKING ESSENTIAL

This is run by a friendly group who just love playing games. Come and enjoy the company!


Knitting & Sewing

Textiles - for knitters and sewers to work on their own projects, chatting and sharing ideas whilst they work. BOOKING ESSENTIAL. Thursdays 10am - 12 noon, £2 per session.

Womens Shed - a new creative group for women - painting, sewing, crochet, drawing..and more! Mondays 1.30pm - 4pm. read more....

Templecombe Soft Furnishings Class - will restart after lockdown. read more....

art classes

Art and Creative Classes

Painting and Drawing Chatter Art Group - A paint /draw /chat group offering support to all in a friendly group. £3 per session - BOOKING ESSENTIAL read more

Introdution to Drawing - for 6 weeks, starting 2nd March, £3 per session. read more

wellbeing support


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.


Please note: you must book to join this class

A secular meditation group, helping you to rest and relax, and reduce your levels of stress.

The benefits of mindfulness are proven to prevent depression reoccurring and reduce anxiety and worry, so if you are struggling or feeling overwhelmed these sessions can help.

The group is run by Sue, 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 Wednesday of the month, 2pm - 3pm, but the first session will be on Wednesday 19th May, returning to the first Wednesday thereafter.


wellbeing support

Memory Lane - Early Dementia Support Group

For people in the early stages of Dementia and their carers

This group has been split into two sessions to keep numbers down and social distancing measures in place.

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 if you or someone you know would like to join. The numbers are limited and you may have to join a waiting list.

NEWS - The Memory Lane Group has won an award!

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.

Bronze award

NEW - Confidence Club

Confidence Club

Confidence Clubs are for people living with mental ill health conditions, and who would benefit from confidence building to:

• Manage money better
• Learn about budgeting
• Become less fearful about bills and opening envelopes
• Become more confident at a general level

Activities that can be carried out include:
- speakers of relevant subjects or those chosen by group members following discussion to decide - quizzes that help learning linked to finances
- information sharing and general encouragement for people to chat and get to know each other.

The first session will be on Tuesday 1st March, 11.30 - 1pm. Please call The Balsam Centre to book - 01963 31842

Wellbeing Across Somerset

                  Somerset Wellbeing

Creativity Works

Based in North East Somerset and Bath, Creativity Works is run creative courses and activities aimed at those facing difficulties in their lives or simply in need of some inspiration. They work with professional artists and wellbeing specialists and have workshops throughout the year. Currently, due to Covid, their classes are via Zoom and you can download their latest timetable here.

Somerset Recovery College

Hosted by Somerset Partnership NHS Trust and delivered in partnership with other local agencies for the wellbeing of people in Somerset

A range of courses are being hosted online which you can join where ever you are in Somerset, but there are also organised outdoor activities - walks and map reading courses.

To find out more about what Recovery Learning is and what you have to do to join a course, click on this link.

And click here to look at the Recovery College calendar to see what is coming up this month.

                  Recovery College

South Somerset Wellbeing

Other Sources of Support

If you or a family member or friend are struggling to cope with a disability or illness, or need to find further information, Somerset Spark now has a website to help direct you to other areas of help. Click the logo link for more information

golden age group

The Golden Age Group

A social group in Templecombe

There are Covid restrictions in place, with adequately spaced seating and hygiene measures, but the group is going ahead.

Come together for a social afternoon with crafts and activities

Every Wednesday, 2pm - 4pm, at Templecombe Sports and Social Club

Fee: £2 per session

Everyone welcome!

Contact Trish at The Balsam Centre for more details - 01963 31842

The Tanners' Cafe

A social group in Milborne Port

There are Covid restrictions in place, with adequately spaced seating and hygiene measures, but the group is going ahead.

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.

Everyone welcome!

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 curling and cooking.

We are a friendly group with a great mix of people who like a chat and a laugh when we meet.

The Tanners Cafe


Future Seeding Project

Would you like to brighten up your garden?

Would you like to grow vegetables to eat, grow flowers for wildlife, but have little knowledge, time or money? If YES, join us!

We will provide plants, hands on practical advice, compost - all free of charge!

There will be a Facebook page to share progress, problems and tips. We will have a get together in mid September to cook our home grown vegetables and decorate the tables with our flowers from our own gardens.

Please contact the Balsam Centre to register your interest.

01963 31842.

roasted pumpkin

Introduction to Drawing

6 week - Absolute Beginners Course

Wednesdays 1-3pm March 2nd - 6th April

6 places available - booking essential

£3 for each session - all materials provided

Come and join Mia for a fun, friendly, relaxed 6 week beginners course. Each class progressively builds your skills and knowledge - within a taught 'how to' frame work.

By the end of the course you may not be a Michelangelo or Picasso. However you will have the confidence to enjoy and further develop your own personal drawing style!

Current research suggests that drawing has a beneficial impact on health, improving a sense of wellbeing, reducing stress, and encouraging self expression.

To book a place, call 01963 31842 or email

4 bookings are required to offer this course

Introduction to Drawing Course

Retro Gamers Club

This group will plan to open in June

We are starting a group where young adults can come and enjoy playing on old games and consoles. We have an X-Box 360 and 4 controllers, and the idea is that people can bring their games/consoles too for the evening

Because of the room size, we need to limit the number of people attending to 6, 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

Retro Gamers Club

Mixed Media Class

Painting and Drawing Art and Natter Group

Mondays, 10am - 12 noon

Cost: £3 per session BOOKING ESSENTIAL 01963 31842

This small art group is the place to come and paint and draw, and share ideas with others. You can bring in your own project to work on or get inspiration from other group members. Rob is on hand for any tips in this informal, "chat, paint and draw" group.

All levels welcome! This isn't an intimidating art group but a very friendly and relaxed group that like to socialise with others whilst they work, offering encouragement and support, - bring your own flask of coffee or tea!

Bring your own materials - whatever you want to work in!

craft Classes

NEW Women's Shed

Mondays, 1.30pm - 4pm, booking essential

Cost: £5 per session including materials and refreshments

The Women’s Shed is a group where women can pursue any project which interests them and is portable – sewing, crochet, drawing, embroidery, painting, genealogy, letter writing, whatever! The group is weekly but once a month Carolyn will do a demonstration on something seasonal.

call 01963 31842 or email infoREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk for more information and to book a place.

Templecombe Soft Furnishings Class - currently on hold

Mondays, 10am - 12 noon

At the Social Club in Templecombe

Cost: £3 per session

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 or call 01963 31842

IT Hub

IT - Help! sessions for tablets, smartphones and laptops - currently on hold but call 01963 31842 for further information

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! We will run one-to-one sessions to help with a particular problem, but we are also planning to start a class for ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS.

Book your slot

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.

IT Drop-in

Job Advice Club

We are planning to open a new Job Advice Club to help you find out what opportunities - jobs, learning and training - are on offer in the area and how you can apply.

In the meantime, these are sites that advertising local jobs:-

Somerset Council jobs

Careers Advice

If you are thinking about changing careers, but would like to know where your skills can take you, head over to the Government's National Careers Service.

Free Online Courses

If you want to brush up on your digital skills, or learn a new skill, there are plenty of free online courses. These sites have a wide range of courses, from Learning Excel to Life Drawing:-

Future Learn including how to write applications. Future Learn is part owned by the Open University.

Coursera which has some free courses as well as paid courses. You can also apply for funding for courses. offers low cost courses. has free courses on all aspects of Excel.

Linkedin Courses for anyone signed up to Linkedin (it's free to sign up).

Open Learn from Open University.

English Classes


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

English Classes

the choir

The Choir - currently on hold

Due to Covid restrictions, the choir can't run at the moment. We hope it will return soon, 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.

courses and activites
            for adults

Men's Shed

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!

owl boxes

Tuesday Open Workshop - BOOKING ESSENTIAL

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 would like to get involved, come along!

If you would like to commission the shedders to build you something, then come and have a chat.

The Mens Shed

Wednesday Open Workshop - BOOKING ESSENTIAL - 0196331842

From Wednesday 26th May, a new workshop, 10 am- 12noon.

Due to Covid restrictions, we are opening up on another day to accomodate new shedders. Come along and work on your own projects, or come with a project you would like to make, or an idea you have - birdboxes, etc, or come and share your skills with others.

Men in the shed

Thursday Open Workshop

10am - 12.30pm BOOKING ESSENTIAL 01963 31842

This workshop is open to any woodworking projects. Maybe you have a project you didn't quite finish - here's the place you can 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, from complete beginners to experts.

New Early Dementia Men's Shed coming soon!

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 Jani 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!


Guess the Tool!

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 - JaneupsallREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk or call 01963 31842.

unknown tool unknown tool

Men's Shed items for sale or by commission

All the proceeds go to a great cause - the Men's Shed! It helps us buy more wood and equipment.

We take commissions - drop in on a Tuesday or Thursday morning and chat to Terry or Gordon.


Bookends £5 a pair

hobby horses

Painted Hobby Horse £10

chopping board

Chopping Board £12

pencil boxes

Whale Pencil Boxes £3


Decking Planters POA


Stool £10

cake stands

Cake Stand £10


Bookends £5 a pair

aricular theatre

Auricular Theatre £75

painted trug

Trug £15

swallow box

Triple Sparrow Box £20

painted shelves

Shelves £12

child's bench

child's bench £25

painted cupboard

Key Cupboard £15, Bookstand £5


Trug £15

make to order sign


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 Men's Shed movement in the UK (and Triton sponsor the Men's 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 01963 31842 or email infoREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk to discuss it.

courses and activites for adults

Loose Ends Cafe, Tuesdays, 12.30pm - is cancelled until we can recruit new volunteers

£4 for anyone over 60 within Wincanton.

Our warm and friendly Loose Ends Cafe ran every Tuesday - pre-Covid! We had three large tables - so no sneaking off to that tiny table for one in the corner; this is a sociable cafe. We had regulars and people who were just passing, from jet-setters to men's shedders, retired postmen to film-makers, the conversation was always interesting! And we often picked up ideas here for new groups and activities.

If you would like to become part of the team that runs the cafe, please get in touch with Janey, 01963 31842

Lunch is a set menu, with a choice of vegetarian or meat as the main course, and a dessert.

For lunch deliveries, there will be a short questionnaire about allergies to fill in before you start, and we will ask you to pay 4 weeks in advance - sadly, you can't pay the delivery driver. You will be able to see the menus for those 4 weeks and book your choices at the start. Your lunch will then be delivered every Tuesday to your doorstep!

Call The Balsam Centre on 01963 31842 for more information.

loose ends

All the food is cooked in our kitchens by a small team of fantastic volunteers, Ellie and Kristian, led by Maggie. Pre-COVID, our team was larger to include Paris, Sue, Pam and Ali who very kindly help us serve and clear up. Some of our volunteers have learning difficulties or special needs and this is a wonderful opportunity for them to get involved in their community.

Volunteer in the cafe!

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 wash up or deliver the food in Wincanton. So if you can spare some time on a Tuesday, between 12 - 2.30pm, even once or twice a month, please come in and talk to us (01963 31842 or email infoREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk).

courses and activites for


Our walks are now back on! And walks no longer have a limit on the number of walkers!

We want to keep everyone safe so we have made some changes to the way we run the walks:-

- Walkers on the Tuesday short walk will no longer need to book to join the walk, but walkers on the Long Walk will still need to book so walk leaders don't have to take names/numbers before the walk. It also means we can contact everyone who has booked on the walk if we have to cancel it for any reason.

- All walkers need to register to attend the walks. The contact details won't be used for anything other than to inform you if the walk has to be cancelled or to let you know details of the walk - eg if it will be very muddy.

-Walkers won't have to wear a mask - but bring one with you in case the walk you are on has a cafe stop. You should also bring your own hand sanitiser for gates etc, and your own water.

- Short and Short-Short Walks from the Balsam Centre will meet outside on the ramp - walks won't start or end in the Centre sadly, so no coffee at the Centre afterwards for the time being.

- The start / meeting point for the Long Walks will be given to you when you book on the walk; it won't be in the brochure.


With a team of 24 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, running every week. 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. You can then work up to the weekly 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 weekly long walks you'll want, averaging 3.5 - 5 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! THESE WALKS HAVEN'T RESTARTED YET - HOPEFULLY SOON!

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 registration form when they join the scheme. You can download the form and hand it in before you start your chosen walk.

If you are interested in our walks or just want more information please phone the Balsam Centre on 01963 31842

New Walk Leaders Needed!

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 us on 01963 31842 or email infoREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk

Download a full list of our walks. Alternatively, "like" us on Facebook to keep updated on the walks....


"Walking for Health" - Short walks in Wincanton

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, 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!

Short 50
                minute walks
40 minute / 1 hour Short Walk - starts and ends at the Balsam Centre, Wincanton, Tuesday, 10am EVERY WEEK

These faster paced 1-hour walks aim to maintain or increase general fitness. The average walking pace is about 3mph, we therefore offer walkers the option after approximately half an hour to walk back with a leader at a slower pace. The walk follows pavements, paths and tracks around Wincanton and the surrounding fields and do include some inclines. Book to join the walk, and meet 9.45am on the ramp outside the door.

Download a full list of our walks. Alternatively, "like" us on Facebook to keep updated on the walks....


walking group


Long walks

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. Booking is essential so we can let you know if the walk has to be changed or cancelled due to bad weather. We will give you the start point for the walk when you book. For more information, call 01963 31842.

Download a full list of our walks. Alternatively, "like" us on Facebook to keep updated on the walks....

Buggy Walking

You don't need to bring a buggy to go on the Buggy Walks! Your baby can be in a sling and your toddler can walk if you like.

Download a full list of our walks.

Stourhead Buggy & Toddler Walk - currently suspended

Due to the Covid restrictions, the Buggy Walk hasn't restarted yet. We hope to get it running again soon, maybe with 2 locations that we can alternate.

++++PLEASE NOTE++++ All walkers need to register at The Balsam Centre first and for the Stourhead Buggy walk, you need to pick up an ID card (please bring proof of address). For the Wincanton Buggy walk please book a place beforehand.

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. You can bring your child with you when you lead a walk.

courses and activites for

Fitness Classes - please call if you wish to join a group.

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 although Karen's Pilates is ending, we hope to have other fitness classes on offer soon.

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 that allows for social distancing. We would love to see yoga and pilates classes back at the Centre.

yoga classes

Yoga with Libby

A Reike yoga class starting at The Balsam Centre!

Suitable for all levels - beginners welcome!

Wednesdays 4-5pm. Booking essential

Cost: £10 for a single class, or pay £40 for 5 classes.

To book email

pilates classes

Pilates with Louise

A new Pilates class is starting at The Balsam Centre, suitable for ALL fitness levels. Louise will provide modifications, adaptations and progressions suitable for all abilities.

Build strength, balance, flexibility and increase mobility in a friendly, safe and supportive environment.

Tuesdays 9.30am - 10.30am.

Thursdays 9.30am - 10.30am and 11.00am -12.00pm.

Booking essential.

Cost: £10 for a single class, or pay £40 for 5 classes.

To book email or call 07779 712305



Gentle chair exercises for people with limited mobility. Maybe you have had a hip replacement, or have a long term condition that makes exercise difficult - come and join one of these friendly groups and enjoy exercise again.

£2.50 per session - all welcome! Booking essential!

At The Balsam Centre

Every Tuesday 11.00am to 12.00 noon in the Veronica Room

Milborne Port

Exercise for an hour followed by a chat after!

Every Monday, 10am - 12.30pm in Milborne Port Village Hall

Contact 01963 31842 or Claire on 07916 681602 for more information


Tai Chi (Shibashi/Qi-Gong)

A low-impact exercise combining deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements.

Tai Chi helps to reduce stress, improve balance and general mobility, and increase muscle strength in the legs

Mondays 2pm - 3pm, and Fridays 1pm - 2pm

At The Balsam Centre

£5 per session - booking essential to keep numbers limited

We also run a Tai Chi class for people with Parkinson's - more information

Led by Lin Forrester  07749 899094


Tai Chi (Shibashi/Qi-Gong) for people with Parkinson's

A Tai Chi class specifically for people with Parkinson's disease, to help with balance and muscle strength. This is a low-impact exercise combining deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements.

People with similar symptoms as Parkinson's can join the group too but please contact the local Wincanton Parkinson's Society first - Jennifer 01963 33837.

Monday, 12.30pm - 1.30pm

At The Balsam Centre

£2 per session - booking essential to keep numbers low.

Led by Lin Forrester  07749 899094



Support Us!

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!


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!!

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.

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving