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.
Flexercise in Milborne Port 10am - 12pm in the village hall
Citizens Advice Bureau 10am - 3pm every Monday
Tai Chi 12.30pm - 1.30pm for people with Parkinsons
Men's Shed - Open Workshop 10am - 12.30pm
Health Walk 10am - 10.50am
Pilates 10.30am - 11.30am
Short Health Walk from the Medical Centre 11.30am - 11.50am
Coffee Morning 8.45am - 10.45am (finishing 10am on 1st Wednesday of the month)
Games Club 10.30am - 12.30pm
ITCourse 10am - 11.30am, 21st Sept - 25th Oct (tablet device) - Balsam Centre
ITCourse 10am - 11.30am, 1st Nov to 13th Dec (APPLE IPAD) - Balsam Centre
ITCourse 10am - 11.30am, 3rd Jan - 7th Feb (tablet device) - Balsam Centre
IT Course 2pm - 3.30pm, 21st Sept - 25th Oct, (tablet devices) - MILBORNE PORT
IT Drop-in 2pm - 3.30pm, from 8th Nov - NOT WEEKLY - Balsam Centre
IT Drop-in 2pm - 3.30pm, from 15th Nov - NOT WEEKLY - MILBORNE PORT
IT Course 2pm - 3.30pm, 7th Feb - 14th Mar, (tablet devices) - MILBORNE PORT
Yoga with Helen Jane 4.14pm - 5.15pm
Yoga with Helen Jane 5.30pm - 6.30pm
Blast! Fitness 7pm - 8pm
Men's Shed - Open Workshop 10am - 12.30pm
Textiles 10am - 12 noon
Pilates 10.15am - 11.15pm
IT Course 10.30am - 12 noon, 22nd Sept - 26th Oct, (tablet devices) - CASTLE CARY
IT Drop-In 10.30am - 12 noon, from 2nd Nov - NOT WEEKLY - CASTLE CARY
Stourhead Buggy Walks 10.30am every other week, meet at Stourhead
Pilates 11.35am - 12.35pm
IT Course 2pm - 3.30pm, 22nd Sept - 26th Oct, (tablet devices) - Balsam Centre
IT Course 2pm - 3.30pm, 2nd Nov to 14th Dec (tablet devices) - HENSTRIDGE
IT Drop-In 2pm - 3.30pm, from 4th January - NOT WEEKLY - HENSTRIDGE
Early Dementia Group 2pm - 4pm
Police Commissioner Drop-in 26th October 2.30pm
Pilates 7pm - 8pm
The following will start once we have sufficient numbers booked on them
Digital Photography Workshop 10am - 5pm
Create-Saturdays: Middle Eastern Cookery 10am - 2pm
Create-Saturdays: Experimental Knitting 10am - 4pm
Create-Saturdays: Mixed Media Printing 10am - 4pm
Do you enjoy a challenge? The games group meet twice a week and play games - Scrabble, card games, chess, Rumikins, Phase 10 - you can even bring a game if we don't have it, or we will try and find it.
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!
Thursdays, 10am - 12 noon, £2
No booking necessary - turn up and join in!
If you would like a particular activity, come and make the suggestion. Or perhaps there is something you would like to run here yourself - come and chat to us - we may even have a volunteer who could help you.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your suggestion with Sarah on Reception
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
All ages welcome, young or older. If you're feeling isolated - maybe you've only just moved into the area - then come along and find out more.
Tuesdays, 2pm - 4pm. You are welcome to come and join us!
Come together in a supportive atmosphere to have some fun and some down-time in this activity based group - knitting, felting, crochet, or other crafts.
Fridays, 2pm - 4pm. Just turn up or call 01963 31842 for more 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!
The courses run for 6 weeks and are for tablet devices. These courses are for absolute beginners - come and learn how to email, use the camera and attach photos to emails, find out how to stay safe on the internet, to shop online, use Skype, and download apps that will let you watch tv you missed or listen to the radio.
Places on the courses are limited. To book a place please call 01963 31842 or email annetteREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk
The Drop-ins are run by Annette and volunteers and they can help you whether you have a laptop, tablet - ipad or android, or mobile phone - bring it with you. Forgotten how to attach a photo to an email or don't know how to set up your new phone? Whatever your problem, we will try to help you.
The Balsam Centre
Wednesday, 1st November, 10am - 11.30am, (for Apple iPads)
Wednesday, 3rd January, 10am - 11.30am
Thursday, 11th January, 10am - 11.30am
Camelot Room, Milborne Port Village Hall
Wednesday, 7th February, 2pm - 3.30pm
Millbrook Gardens Community Lounge
Thursday, 22nd September, 10.30am -12 noon
Henstridge Village Hall
Thursday, 2nd November, 2pm - 3.30pm (not on 7th December - last lesson is 14th December)
Thursday, 18th January, 2pm - 3.30pm
These are not weekly
The Balsam Centre
2pm - 3.30pm starting Wednesday, 8th November
and running on the 22nd November, 6th and 20th December, 14th and 21st February, 7th and 21st March.
Camelot Room, Milborne Port Village Hall
2pm - 3.30pm starting Wednesday, 15th November
and running on the 29th November, 13th December, 10th and 24th January, 21st and 28th March.
Millbrook Gardens Community Lounge
10.30am - 12 noon Thursday, 30th November, 7th December, 4th and 18th January.
Henstridge Village Hall
2pm - 3.30pm Thursday, 4th and 11th January
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 new choir has started in Wincanton, singing at the Balsam Centre every Monday evening, 6 - 7pm in the Veronica Room.
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.
It is with great sadness that we announce that Pat Wood has passed away.
He was a regular contributor to the Balsam Centre, teaching students the wonders of motors and anything mechanical.
His enthusiasm was infectious and his hands on approach to learning was popular with the students. He firmly believed in exploring any motor engine and could fix just about anything.
We will miss him.
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.
Who doesn't have a nearly complete length of 2 x 1 that you don't need but can't chuck? If it hasn't gone in the woodburner yet, we can make use of it. (No mdf please)
And tools you don't need. Planes are always good (but no more mitre boxes please!). We are on the hunt for a second hand wood lathe if anyone has one they would like to sell us!
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.
The Mens Shed now has a new shed "annex" - a shed extension. Thanks to some generous funding, we were able to build a new shed that will link through to the old one. It will house the recently bought wood lathe - look out for some beautiful wooden bowls coming soon....
Women's shed... We are looking to open the shed on other days and perhaps running a Women's Shed. For more information, contact Nicola Micklewright at The Balsam Centre on 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.
Steve Hewson, from Triton Tools based in Yeovil was wonderful, paying us a visit and bringing us new Triton tools for the Shed. The company has been very supportive of the Mens Shed movement in the UK (and Triton sponsor the Mens Sheds in Australia).
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 week? Call Annette 01963 31842 or email AnnetteREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk to discuss it.
The Women’s shed will be a new group designed to run in a similar fashion to the well-established and well attended “Men’s Shed”, held at The Balsam Centre.
It will also provide a space for women where they can take part in basic life and trades based activities - if you have any projects you wish to work on or learn about, HUB2 will try and accommodate your needs.
Please contact Nicola Micklewright HUB2 Project Worker at The Balsam Centre on 01963 31842 or email NicolaREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk
Now in large room next to reception -The Shed - where the Health Visitors will run their clinic so you can have your baby weighed at the same time!
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 enjoy cooking, perhaps you'd like to join the team. We are looking for people who enjoy cooking and working with others in this friendly kitchen. If you can spare some time on a Tuesday morning, even once or twice a month, please come in and talk to Annette (01963 31842 or email AnnetteREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk). You don't need to be a trained chef; your own experience and enthusiasm is enough. Or perhaps you have experience of working with people with special needs.
We are very proud that our kitchen has a 5 star food hygiene rating and we will pay for you to get a Food Hygiene Certificate Level 2 if you don't have it.
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 Medical 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. You can then work up to our 50 minute walks, which may have some hills - we are in Wincanton after all! - and which 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! NEW! We now have Balsam Buggy Walks, starting from the Balsam Centre and ending with a cuppa back at the Centre.
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!
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! Tuesdays, 11.30am
Easy Level, some hills, some rough ground on certain walks. For those who are slightly more mobile although we will gear our walks to you, so if you think you're ready for this one give it a go! Tuesdays, 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 to a coastal 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 walk takes place every other Thursday, starting 10.30am at the Visitors Centre but not during Autumn half term when the gardens are very busy.
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, 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
These walks will follow routes in and around Wincanton - no car needed - and end back in the Centre for coffee.
For more information, please contact Nicola Micklewright (HUB2 Project) On 01963 31842 / 07546925953 or email Nicola@balsamcentre.org.uk
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.
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.
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.
TUESDAY - 10.30am, 5.15pm & 7.00pm. THURSDAY - 10.15am, 11.35am & 7.00pm.
Full cost per single booked session = £5.95 or pay as you go = £6.45.
Discounted rate of £5.10 per session when booking a full month.
Discounted rate of £5.50 per session when booking one week less than a full month.
Extra sessions at a reduced price of £2.99 per session.
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.
You can find out more about Karen and the classes by clicking here
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, ring 07920265590 or message on facebook: yogawithhelenjane
Gentle chair exercises with a cuppa and chat after!
Every Monday, 10am - 12pm in Milborne Port Village Hall
£2.50 per session - all welcome!
Contact 01963 31842 or Claire on 07484174675 for more information
B - Boxing Circuits
L - Legs and Bum Sculptin
A - Abs and Core
S - Strength work for upper body
T - Tae-Boe techniques
Tanya Levy from Levant Catering will be giving you the chance to delve into the flavours of the Middle East in this cookery workshop. Learn how to create dishes and experience some ingredients you might not have come across before. You will be learning to cook in the morning, with everyone making a different dish and the session will end with a relaxing lunch, eating the dishes you have all made. The maximum class size is 8, so early booking is essential. 01963 31842.
The artist (and qualified teacher) Joy Merron makes the most wonderful installations - check out her website - http://www.joymerron.co.uk, full of shapes and shadows. She will be coming to give a workshop on Experimental Knitting, where you will get the chance to make your own yarn out of some unusual stuff, and then start knitting!
Amanda Bee, artist and teacher, has worked with us before, helping to make the tiled mural in the quiet area of the garden. Head over to her website to look at her work - http://www.amandabeeartist-online.co.uk. She's coming back to run a workshop in Mixed Media Printing - come and spend the day exploring printing methods.
Come and have fun making jewellery - earrings, necklaces and bracelets, with wire, tigertail, beads, drops, buttons and seed beads, and even pebbles! (You can also bring your own beads and bits if you like).
The course will run once we have 6 people interested.
Hopefully, this is just the start of regular art on a Saturday at the centre. In the pipeline, we have Camera-Phone Photography / Instagram - how to get the best from your mobile's camera and how to shoot in a square format, edit and load up on to Instagram. There is another Digital Photography workshop for those of you with digital SLRs - see below. And more painting and drawing - an Ink and Watercolour workshop, along with an Acrylics Workshop. If you are interested in any of these, please call and let us know so we can calculate numbers. 01963 31842
This popular workshop will return to The Balsam Centre in the spring / early summer for anyone with a digital SLR who would really like to know how to get the most from their camera.
Run by experienced photographers from the Wincanton Camera Club, the workshop will give you the practical and creative skills to take the best photographs. Learn about shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and get guidance on the basic rules of good composition. The workshop will take place in the Balsam Centre with practical exercises outdoors.
Students will need their own a digital camera with controls which allow the shutter speed and aperture to be altered manually. Bring a packed lunch!
The workshop costs £70 and places are limited - register your interest by calling 01963 31842 or email InfoREMOVEREMOVEREMOVE@REMOVEBalsamCentreREMOVE.REMOVEorgREMOVE.REMOVEuk. There will be several tutors but just 10 students maximum, and the course will run once we have 8 people who are interested in taking part.
Thai food has exploded in popularity over the past decade. However, after arriving in the UK in 2001, Sompong quickly realised that authentic Thai dishes were not available. Thais take their food very seriously. Mothers teach their daughters and pass their knowledge through the generations in a "show and tell" method. With Sampong guiding you, you will experience the step-by-step method and you will quickly learn to cook and experience the fine art of Thai Cuisine...the easy way.
The course is for 4 weeks and will be led by Sam Sompong
The fee for the course is £75 oer person. To book, please contact Sam directly, telephone 07850 780161 or 07864 947259.
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 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.