The Bircham Centre
Linoleum was ripped up, rotten wood replaced, and the walls were repainted, keeping the centre preserved and maintained for future generations. By repairing and modernising parts of the entryway and information point, higher levels of sanitation could be maintained – essential in a post-Covid world. Furthermore, the funding allowed for better use of outdoor space, allowing for areas to be cleared and gazebos to be placed in the grounds to create pick up and drop off points, and shelter when running outdoor events. Both of these measures meant that more isolated people, such as the elderly, had the confidence to visit the centre – with some guests remarking that it was the first space they had been in other than their home for 18 months.
A volunteer coordinator post was also supported by the grant. Volunteers are essential to keep the centre operational and this vital role ensures the best use of volunteer time and resources. Volunteers at the archive, for example, were able to carry out tasks at home, while another team of volunteers worked in the outdoor spaces, clearing areas and maintaining the garden.
The centre, now 102 years old, is now more resilient than ever before. The Bircham Centre shows the power of community action in uncertain times and highlights the flexibility and responsiveness of the team to their community’s needs.