YMCA Highbridge was officially opened last week (Friday 31st January) at an opening event which saw around 100 local residents and dignitaries in attendance.
The building was officially opened by Sedgemoor District Council Chairman, Cllr Peter Clayton, alongside YMCA Dulverton Group CEO, Martin Hodgson. Unveiling a plaque commemorating the building’s opening, Cllr Peter Clayton said: “I have had an opportunity to look round and there are some wonderful rooms upstairs and the sports hall is absolutely amazing. This is going to be a real community hub for Highbridge.”
The YMCA Highbridge development has seen the previously fire-damaged building transformed into a community café, sports hall, conference and meeting space as well as 23 rooms of supported accommodation. A timetable of sessions is already underway which includes a stay and play for parents with babies, as well as sports sessions for children aged 8-15.
YMCA Dulverton Group CEO Martin Hodgson said: “This is an exciting time for us as the YMCA, as we are at the start of what I believe will be a fantastic journey for this building and its new role within the heart of the community.
“YMCA Highbridge is the first of our community branches, which are the touchpoints for everybody in the community, no matter what your age or need. We are already seeing the impact this has on local people, from our sports sessions and stay and plays which have been held here over the last few weeks.
“We have had a lot of support throughout this development and so there are many people to thank. In particular, I would like to thank those who alongside YMCA Dulverton Group funded the project: Sedgemoor District Council, Homes England and EDF’s Accommodation Fund. I would also like to thank YMCA Dulverton Group’s trustees, Burnham on Sea and Highbridge Town Council, John Perkins Construction and of course our neighbours in the Highbridge community.
“I am excited for the future of YMCA Highbridge and hope that it will become a greatly used asset for the community.”
Allison Griffin, Chief Executive of Sedgemoor District Council said: “Today marks the start of a real change for Highbridge, it’s been a long journey to get this project to fruition which involved lots of hard work from many people.
“On behalf of Sedgemoor District Council, I’m really proud we could have been a part of this and I think we owe a lot to YMCA Dulverton Group and our funders. This is the start of a really bright future for Highbridge and its residents.”
David Eccles from EDF Energy said: “This is just the sort of socially inclusive project that EDF’s Accommodation Fund was designed to support and we are delighted by the way that the local community have already begun to use it.”
Ceri Loomes from Homes England said: “Homes England are pleased to be able to support this worthwhile scheme which is already proving to be a great asset to the community.”
James Heappey MP for Wells constituency said: “It is fantastic to see the building open. People have been debating furiously what should be here, what it should look like, and some have been really nervous that this really important part of Highbridge might lose part of its appeal. But that is not the case as this is a fantastic renovation and is an amazing new facility for the community.”
YMCA Highbridge is now fully open and providing a range of facilities for everyone to use, including youth services and community events as well as offering rentable meeting and conference rooms.
As of Monday 3rd February, a brand new fitness timetable is beginning alongside the opening of onsite café, ‘Café Brue’. Members of the community are welcome to come in and use the facilities where the team will also be around to answer any questions. For more information about events at YMCA Highbridge or booking the facilities, please email: YMCAHighbridge@ymca-dg.org