A grant award of £250k from the Welsh Government Community Facilities Programme has been given to registered charity Mumbles Community Association (MCA) for Go Underhill. This significant award will enable all of the buildings proposed in Phase 1 of the Underhill Park development to go ahead, given the charity has now secured an incredible £1.6m towards the construction.
Chair of MCA, Simon Tse, said:
“We are thrilled that our grant application to the Welsh Government Community Facilities Programme has been successful.
“Our team put in the initial expression of interest to the grant programme in June 2020 and were then encouraged to submit a detailed application, which we did last November. At each stage, we have worked with sports and community groups, local schools and the wider public to ensure what we are seeking to deliver meets their needs and wants.
“The awarding panel clearly recognised the benefits that the development will bring and how our plans will both protect and enhance the valuable role Underhill Park plays for local people and visitors, making it an excellent resource for the whole community.”
Combining the award with the grant of £840k from Mumbles Community Council, a grant of £25k from Welsh Rugby Union, plus donations from companies and individuals, the charity can now push ahead with the building of six new changing rooms, with associated facilities, plus the refurbishment of the existing pavilion.
A new Community Hub and Café will also be built, using the majority of the £489k which was awarded to ‘Go Underhill’ by the National Lottery Community Fund last year. As well as offering refreshments and an opportunity to socialise, the Hub will be the base for a new programme of community leisure and learning activities. It will connect the new changing rooms to the refurbished pavilion, creating a single focal point for everyone visiting the Park, whether for formal sessions or on a casual basis.
Securing the grant from Welsh Government Community Fund means that MCA can tender all six of the new changing rooms, the refurbishment of the pavilion and the new Community Hub and Café in one contract, which is the most cost effective route.
“The new changing rooms and toilets will ensure that Underhill Park offers the standard of support facilities which users should expect, rather than park visitors having to make the best of ones built in the 1940’s, which are no longer fit for purpose.
“We know that the existing provision puts people off and having to leave the park to get refreshments or find a toilet stop is less than ideal, particularly for our younger and older visitors. MCA Trustees are already looking forward to the day when we can be proud of what is available in the Park for everyone to enjoy.”
With detailed designs recently completed, an application has been made to Swansea Council for some minor material amendments to the Planning approval given in November 2019. Once this application has been decided, and a new tripartite lease agreement between Mumbles Community Association, Mumbles Community Council, and Swansea City Council has been signed, tenders for the building work will be invited. It is hoped that this can be done in June, which could enable work to start on site in early Autumn 2021. The new facilities would then be opening 12 – 15 months later.
With funding for the building elements of Go Underhill now in place, Mumbles Community Association will be focusing its efforts on raising the money needed for the final element of the phase 1 plans, a new all-weather pitch (AWP).
Whilst a commitment of £325k towards the cost of the AWP has been made by Mumbles Community Council, this will only become available once MCA have found the remainder of the funding required, a sum of between £350k – £500k, depending on the size of the pitch. The charity is currently exploring potential sources of grant funding and will also be kicking off a fundraising drive amongst local people and businesses over the coming months.