Stronger Links Forged in South Somerset

Two schemes forging stronger links in two military communities in South Somerset are set to benefit after receiving over £27,000 from the Ministry of Defence’s Armed Forces Covenant Fund (AFC).

Based at the Balsam Centre, ‘Hub2’ will receive £19,860 to initially benefit residents living on the Deansley Way Estate, Wincanton, where 40 per cent of homes are occupied by armed forces families.

The Hub will provide opportunities for both civilian and military families to make new friends, take up new interests, develop new skills and improve their sense of community belonging.

The grant will help fund a project worker to oversee a number of planned activities including groups for under 5s, outdoor activities and a ‘women’s shed’. Residents will also have access to professional help ie, one to one counselling, support for domestic abuse or help with mental health issues.

Sue Place, Chief Executive Officer of The Balsam Centre said: “We are absolutely thrilled that the Balsam Centre has been awarded AFC funding.  We are really looking forward to getting to know our local military families and helping them to feel part of the Wincanton community.”

The second scheme to benefit is the Wyndham Park Community Hub, situated on the outskirts of Yeovil.

A local Community Centre has not yet been built, and is still five years away from opening. Local agencies and residents need a community hub available now to work with the community, both civilian and military, to break down barriers and provide a resource available and accessible to all.

The £8,000 grant will help to equip this interim community hub bringing residents together. Activities planned include health visiting clinics, parenting groups, Relate counselling services, a job and youth club, parent and toddler groups, groups for the elderly and a lot more.

Corrie Robertson, Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare Community Development Worker said: “All the partner agencies that have been involved in this project (including Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare, Wyndham Park Residents’ Association, Yeovil Without Parish Council, Knightstone Housing Association, South Somerset District Council and Wyndham Park Partnership) are delighted to receive AFC funding for the Community Hub on Wyndham Park. This funding will enable the Hub to become more sustainable and go from strength to strength for all the residents of Wyndham Park.”

Chris Phillips, Service Manager at Somerset County Council who hosts the Somerset AFC, said: “The Somerset Armed Forces Covenant Partnership are delighted that two great community schemes are set to benefit, leading to stronger links between military and civilian families. We strongly supported both bids, which aim to encourage local communities to support their local armed forces community and vice versa, as well as encourage activities that both can enjoy. I wish them both every success.”

Further information about the Somerset Armed Forces Covenant is available at

Any organisation interested in submitting a bid to the Somerset Covenant Fund is asked to first email a proposed outline to


For further information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email:

Notes to editors

  • All media should be aware of the pre-election period ahead of the Somerset County Council elections on Thursday, 4 May. This period has now started for the County Council and publishing media are requested to adhere to their own codes of practice for the pre-election period to help ensure a fair election process.
  • The Covenant Fund is an MOD initiative providing funding for local projects which strengthen ties between the Armed Forces and the surrounding community.
  • The project has also been supported and endorsed by the Somerset Armed Forces Covenant (SAFC). In Somerset the SAFC is hosted by Somerset County Council, bringing together charities, local authorities, other public sector organisations, businesses, communities and the military in a pledge of support between local residents and the armed forces community in Somerset.

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