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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 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 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 our Explore 'n' Play group, and Buggy Walks. The Balsam Centre has its very own nursery, Conkers, based at the Centre. 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 - health walks, art and craft classes, games club, and the Men's Shed, Abri Employment Support to help people find training and work, and we have support groups for people who have been affected by depression, dementia and postnatal depression.


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.

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.

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 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!

Open Mental Health
Open Mental Health

Current Vacancies

Within The Balsam Centre and organisations we work with

Balsam Gardens

Conkers Nursery Early Years Practitioner Apprentice

32 hours per week

The Balsam Centre is looking for an apprentice to work alongside the qualified staff in its Conkers Nursery to provide high quality childcare and education for children aged between 3 months and 4 years, including a wide range of activities and opportunities.

The hours are 32 hrs per week to be worked flexibly between the hours of 8am and 5pm from Monday-Friday.

For more information, call Somerset Skills & Learning on 0330 332 7997, or apply online at www.sslcourses.co.uk

Maternity Cover Receptionist

23 hours per week

The Balsam Centre is looking for a Maternity Cover Receptionist to take over the key role of running the busy reception area.

We are looking for someone with excellent communication, organisational and interpersonal skills who is able to create a calm, friendly and welcoming ‘front of house’ environment. You will also be a confident IT user.

The hours are 23 hrs per week to be worked from 8.45–5pm on Mondays and Wednesdays and 8.45–4.30pm on Fridays.

For more details, please download a job description or call us on 01963 31842 for an informal chat. To apply, please complete and return our application form by the closing date of Friday 24 November.

Maternity Cover Conkers Nursery Cleaner

7.5 hours per week

Conkers Nursery at The Balsam Centre in Wincanton has a vacancy for a maternity cover cleaner Monday to Friday for 1.5 hrs per evening, 7.5 hours per week.

This role will include general cleaning of the nursery area and providing cover for the other members of the cleaning team during holiday periods.

The successful applicant will be a flexible, thorough and helpful team player who is able to work on their own initiative and lives within a 30-minute radius of the Centre.

Preferred hours of work are 5.30pm until 7.00pm with flexibility for the right applicant. Competitive rate of pay and holiday allowance.

For more details, please download a job description or call us on 01963 31842 for an informal chat. To apply, please complete and return our application form.

Trustee Opportunity

We help people to lead healthy, happy lives. Will you join us?

The Balsam Centre is a successful and growing charity that helps people in Wincanton and surrounding areas to lead healthier, happier lives. We are funded both by local communities and national organisations like Comic Relief. We offer a wide range of services and activities including health walks, family support, a children's nursery, youth club, men's shed, mental health support, social and therapeutic groups and many, many more. Our services are delivered by paid staff and volunteers and our annual turnover is around £700,000.

We are responding wholeheartedly to the challenges facing our communities by increasing our services to meet local need. We have a fully funded long-term plan for the development of the charity, and due to growth and a retirement of one of our long-serving trustees, we will have a small number of vacancies on our Board from spring 2023. Would you like to join us in leading and nurturing our charity?

All trustees are recruited on their own merits, but we would particularly welcome applications from:
• People with personal experience of using the Balsam Centre
• People with personal experience of adversity
• People with experience of clinical and therapeutic service provision, including eco-therapy
• People of working age, women and people with disabilities

Trustees commit to attending our six bi-monthly meetings (usually held during a weekday evening between 6 and 8pm), joining at least one of our committees, actively representing the charity externally, and providing practical support to the Executive team.

If you are interested in joining us and making a real difference to the communities we support then please contact Michael Bainbridge, Chair of Trustees: michaelfbainbridge@hotmail.co.uk sending your CV and a covering letter. Closing date is Friday 28th April 2023. You may also seek information from our Chief Executive, Sue Place: sueplace@balsamcentre.org.uk

It goes without saying that our values include respect for everyone regardless of personal characteristics.

Conkers Nursery

Conkers Nursery is a friendly and popular Nursery running at The Balsam Centre in Wincanton


We are seeking an enthusiastic Early Years Practitioner qualified at Level 3 or equivalent for 15 hours with the flexibility to work between the hours of 8.00 – 5.30 and all year round, to start as soon as possible. Applicant must be able to work as part of a team, have good communication skills and knowledge and understanding of the EYFS.

It is desirable for you to have Childcare Safeguarding and Paediatric First Aid training. The hourly pay rate is dependent on experience. The position will be subject to an enhanced DBS and two satisfactory references.


Require part-time minibus drivers.

Hourly rate of pay is £11.20 including holiday pay.

Hours are flexible but may involve some early morning, evening and weekend work.

Applicants must have a caring disposition and hold a full clean driver’s licence with D1 category. Suitable applicants will be subject to mini bus test and DBS checks.

For more details and an application form please contact: 01963-34594

If you are looking for work, you might find these local jobs sites helpful:



Somerset Council jobs

If you want to look for free online courses or are thinking about a career change, go to our Employment Support page.

For volunteering opportunities with The Balsam Centre, please head to our Volunteering page.

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 procedures, and they shape our long term plans and protect our values and reputation.


Chair - Michael Bainbridge

John Bartholomew

Vice Chair - John Bartholomew

Paul White

Treasurer - Paul White

Helen Smith

Helen Smith

Emily Showering

Emily Showering

Sarah White

Sarah White


The Balsam Centre is committed to pursuing the highest standards of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults. Our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy is available to read here.

If you have a safeguarding concern within The Balsam Centre, please phone the Centre on 01963 31842 and ask to speak to one of our Designated Safeguarding Leads:

Sue Place

Sue Place

CEO, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead

Emma Brown

Emma Brown

Deputy CEO, Designated Safeguarding Lead

Sarah Emery

Sarah Emery

Conkers Nursery Manager, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead

Shaula Maitland

Shaula Maitland

Quality Assurance Manager, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead

Kelly Starr

Kelly Starr

Children, Young People and Families Manager, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead

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!!


Donating via Wonderful.org

We have a Wonderful.org charity page where you can donate directly to The Balsam Centre, and Wonderful will collect the tax for us! Just click on the logo and you will be taken to the page for donations to Wincanton Community Venture, the official name for The Balsam Centre charity.

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.