Paul Thorburn gives his support to Go Underhill

Paul Thorburn gives his support to Go Underhill

Former Wales rugby captain, Paul Thorburn, who is now business development consultant working is South Wales, has expressed his support for the Go Underhill development.

Paul and his family have longstanding connections with the Park: as a player, as a parent and as a local resident.

Speaking about his links with Underhill Park and his reasons for supporting the development, Paul said:

“I am delighted to be giving my support to the Go Underhill development, as the venue has played such an important part in my family’s life, not just for me, but also for my brother and our families.

 

“My first experience of visiting Underhill Park was as a fresh faced 18 year old, just out of school, when in 1981, along with my older brother Andy, we played for South Gower RFC against Mumbles 2nd XV.

 

“Although I cannot recall the actual outcome of the game, it marked the start of what became many visits to the facility, either as players, or as parents standing on the touchline cheering on our kids.

“During my own playing career, I also played at the ground for Neath RFC team in 1987, to celebrate Mumbles RFC’s centenary year, another keenly contested fixture. I have, on many occasions, enjoyed the festival atmosphere of the Cracker 7’s weekend and watched the occasional cricket match as well.

Match programme kept by Simon Evans, Chair of Mumbles RFC

“What may come as a surprise to many is that my parental touchline encounters were not in support of my son or daughter on the rugby pitch, but in fact it was as they progressed up the soccer tree for Mumbles Rangers, a sport that gave them, and us as parents, so many enjoyable moments and created friendships that have stayed with us.

 

“Regardless of which sport, facilities like Underhill Park did and must continue to play a pivotal role in the shaping of people’s lives, so we need to ensure that they are fit for purpose and provide the necessary facilities for future generations to enjoy and use.

 

“In addition to the enjoyment of the sporting encounters, when living just above the Park on Southward Lane, it provided the ideal location for fitness training and also many early morning dog walks. So, like many families in the locality, Underhill Park has played an integral part in shaping lives and has provided the ideal backdrop for sporting and leisure activities, regardless of ability and interest.”

Chair of Mumbles Community Association, Simon Tse, said:

“We’re delighted that Paul has come forward to express his support for Go Underhill and it’s great to hear about the role the Park has played for him and his family over many years. Although we know the Park is much loved and well used, stories from people like Paul, who have played an important role in Welsh sport, really bring that home.

 

“Support for the Go Underhill development is really coming together now and we’re confident that we will be putting these plans into action before too long. It will be fantastic to see the improved facilities there, ensuring a great future for existing users and creating new opportunities which the whole community can enjoy.”

Mumbles Rangers Football Club make improvements for the future

Mumbles Rangers Football Club make improvements for the future

Mumbles Rangers FC are preparing for a strong future for the club by making improvements to their main pitch, in front of their club house in Underhill Park.

The improvements will come from feeding, weeding and lifting the pitch to encourage grass growth as well as levelling some key areas of the pitch. To meet with the playing ambitions of the club’s senior team, semi-permanent barriers and dugouts will be installed pitch-side. These will be moveable to accommodate the general park use and cricket season.

In order to be ready in time for the new season, the area around the pitch has already been cordoned off and work has begun.

Mumbles Rangers FC is aiming to build a home fortress and to provide the entire club with a quality pitch on which to play important games during the season. It is hoped that the improved pitch, combined with the club’s 1st team (pictured) entering the new West Wales Premier League next season, will provide a pathway for the entire junior section, encouraging them to aspire to play for the senior team in the future.

The club are also hoping that the general community will come along and enjoy watching good quality sport on the weekends. Teas and coffees together with snacks will be available from the club and new bespoke merchandise will be available, with a new leisurewear catalogue launching at the start of the new season.

Chair of Mumbles Rangers, Mike Parkin, said:

“This is a very exciting time for the club future and this project would not have been possible without the funding provided by our vice presidents and we thank them very much.

 

“The vice presidents of our club contribute £20 a year into the VP fund and have done for many years. The money we collate from this fund goes towards the general maintenance of our facilities, including the ‘Billy Johns Clubhouse’, and provides security and a future for the club. We are very thankful to each and every vice president that has and is still contributing. We are always looking for more vice presidents and those interested are encouraged to contact our VP’s secretary, Fraser Gardner, on vp@mumblesrangers.co.uk. The donation is £20 per year and this goes a long way to helping the club and community.”

The Mumbles Rangers main pitch improvements will hopefully soon be followed by work starting on key elements of the stage 1 Go Underhill developments. These include new changing rooms for the sports pitches and new public toilets, both of which are being underwritten by Mumbles Community Council.

It is also hoped that a new community hub and café and a new all-weather pitch can be built on site, subject to additional grant funding being secured.

Major Boost for Go Underhill

Major Boost for Go Underhill

The Go-Underhill project, which will deliver brand new changing rooms and an all-weather pitch, has taken a huge step towards becoming a reality.

Mumbles Community Council (MCC) has decided to enter into a Community Partnership with Mumbles Community Association (MCA), the organisation driving forward the development of Underhill Park, to make sure that the much needed new facilities in the Park can get underway.

Under the Community Partnership agreement, MCA will continue to apply for funding from grants for sports and community facilities, as well as raising money from local businesses, park users and individuals, but MCC will underwrite any deficit in the funding needed, up to a maximum of £1.2m over the next three years.

The decision by MCC recognises that the development of facilities in Underhill Park is a key part of the Council’s community plan, which was developed following extensive analysis of local needs and consultation with the community. It will enable MCA to progress with firm timescales for getting the work done, with MCC playing a full part in delivering these much needed community facilities.

The new Chair of the Mumbles Community Council, Councillor Martin O’Neill said:

“The Council is fully committed to making this happen as we know that the development of Underhill Park will make a big difference to our local community.

 

“MCC has a number of exciting new plans for the area Including the skatepark and Langland tennis courts and in relation to taking the Underhill plan forward we will be asking for a meeting with Welsh Government Minister for Finance, Rebecca Evans MS, as well as the Football Association for Wales and the Welsh Rugby Union to see if we can consolidate funding streams.”

Under the Agreement, MCA will be supported to deliver many of the core elements of its Stage 1 plans for Underhill Park, including new changing rooms, improvements to the existing pavilion to provide new accessible public toilets, landscaping and, with other grant assistance, an all-weather pitch.

The agreement does not include support for the new community hub and café, which is currently subject to a National Lottery application.

MCA Chair Simon Tse said:

“This is a major break-through in the plans to make Underhill Park a core resource for the community, replacing the dilapidated buildings and bringing new facilities which local people want. We are thrilled that MCC have decided to get so fully behind the scheme, which is a real game changer.

 

“I would like to thank all those people who have freely given their time to help the charity get this far.”

MCA will now progress with appointing architects and engineers to prepare detailed plans and specifications so that tenders can be invited for work to begin on site.

Full details of the plans for Underhill Park can be seen under Plans & Progress and further information relating to MCC’s decision to enter into this partnership agreement can be found at: https://www.mumbles.gov.uk/

Flooding in the Park

Flooding in the Park

Because of the exceptionally wet weather we experienced in February, and the flooding which occurred as a result of so much rain, we have put together the following information to answer questions about the drainage of Underhill Park and the impact of the proposed development.

Photo by Jim Young

 

Current Position

We all know that Underhill Park floods and that it acts as a holding area during times of heavy rain. However, the Council’s engineer has advised that such flooding does not affect third parties or the highway because the Park is so low lying. In his view, the surface water within the Park has to be dealt with on site via natural filtration and evaporation. Natural filtration can be assisted by constructing soakaways and the efficiency of these is determined by the ground conditions.

Thanks to Mumbles Community Council (MCC), a lot of information is available on the ground conditions. MCC commissioned studies by Earth Science Partnership in February 2010 and also in January 2011 and 2012 in which water levels in six boreholes were monitored and infiltration rates tested using two trial pits. The boreholes have also provided information on the changes in ground structure by depth.

Subsequently, land drainage was introduced across the main rugby pitch and large soakaways were constructed to intercept the run off from the access road and car park area.

Impact of the development

The Phase 1 buildings are to be located above the area which often floods but, in order not to exacerbate the problem, any surface water arising from the proposed development area will be recycled or diverted to soakaways. These requirements are built into the plans and costs for Phase 1.

The largest impact will be from the proposed all-weather pitch.

Prior to submitting the 2019 planning application for Phase 1, CB3 Consult were commissioned by MCA to advise on the best location for the all-weather pitch and on the design of suitable soakaways. This work included Earth Science Partnership carrying out further investigations including determining infiltration rates at three locations within the Park. Based on the information, CB3 Consult has advised on the size of soakaways required to take the surface water discharge from the proposed development. Diverting the surface water run-off to soakaways from such a large area of the park should reduce the scale of flooding at times of heavy rain. The cost of providing these soakaways is also included in the cost estimates for Phase 1.

Before work can start MCA need to secure an approval from Natural Resources Wales for a sustainable drainage scheme. This is a requirement of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and MCA will therefore be appointing a specialist engineer to prepare this scheme and seek the necessary approval.

Read more about the plans for Underhill Park and the progress we’ve made

£10,000 from Joe’s Ice Cream for Go Underhill

£10,000 from Joe’s Ice Cream for Go Underhill

MCA is thrilled to announce that Swansea’s favourite ice cream maker, Joe’s, has given £10,000 in sponsorship to the Go Underhill development.

The team at Joe’s, which has been a core part of Mumbles since 1984, are keen to see the much-needed development happen and decided that they could help this by formally showing their support and sponsoring Go Underhill.

The announcement is a huge boost to the project as MCA strives to secure and raise the funds needed to get Phase 1 of the Underhill Park development started. This includes new public toilets, a community hub and café, new changing facilities for sports teams, a new all-weather pitch, some external landscaping and a new toddlers’ play area.

Owner of Joe’s, Dominic Hughes, said:

“The Go Underhill development is a fantastic community project that we are proud to support. Outdoor play and team sport are so important for everyone, from children through to adults of all ages.

 

“We expect this project to bring great joy and happiness to Mumbles and the wider community and we hope that generations of our loyal customers will enjoy the new facilities for years to come.”

The announcement of Joe’s sponsorship comes hot on the heels of the public meeting held by MCA in January. At the event, MCA Chair, Simon Tse, updated people on the project and posed the challenge of what we, as a community, can do to help get the development underway. Following the meeting, a number of individuals and businesses came forward to offer help with, amongst other things, building materials, equipment and labour; construction skills; fundraising and donations.

Chair of Trustees, Simon Tse, said

“Receiving £10,000 sponsorship from Joe’s, which is an iconic part of Mumbles and Swansea, is fantastic news. We are very grateful to them, not just for the funding, but also the endorsement this gives to Go Underhill.

 

“We are just launching our community funding drive and hope that the support from Joe’s will lead the way and inspire other businesses to give us their support, as well as motivating local people to donate and help raise fund for the development. We truly believe that by coming together as a community we can make this happen.”

The plans to secure the funds for the development of Underhill Park include grant applications to a variety of bodies as well as seeking sponsorship and donations from businesses and individuals. Donations can be made as a one off payments or via a monthly DD through our website and a range of fundraising initiatives are also being planned.

Any individual or business willing to support or help Go Underhill in any way is asked to get in touch by emailing us on info@go-underhill.com 

About Joe’s

Joe’s has been an ingredient of Swansea life for almost 100 years, with its ‘fresh vanilla gelato’ first being served from its St Helen’s Road ice-cream parlour in 1922. The company has had a parlour in Mumbles since 1984, making it a much-loved part of the local area for both residents and visitors. In recent years Joe’s has added outlets in Llansamlet, Cardiff and Llanelli.

The fame of Joe’s delicious ice-cream was highlighted during the recent visit to Mumbles by the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, when they stopped in at Joe’s to sample both the iconic vanilla (Kate’s favourite) and popular chocolate (William’s favourite) flavours.

Community step up to the plate for Go Underhill

Community step up to the plate for Go Underhill

There was a real buzz at the Go Underhill public information and consultation event held in All Saints Church, Mumbles on 31st January.

Chair of MCA, Simon Tse, gave a detailed update on the Underhill Park project and on how much has already been achieved which will enable the major developments planned for Stage 1 to go ahead.

The milestones already completed include MCA having secured permission from the landowner, the Duke of Beaufort, via the Somerset Trust, not only to undertake building works in Underhill Park, but also to retain and reinvest in the Park any profits generated from managing it.

Taken together with the planning permission for Stage 1, received from Swansea Council in November 2019, this means that the development can get underway once the necessary funding has been secured.

The core message from the Chair was that MCA need community members to step up to the plate to help fundraising for the development or to offer their own services as a way of off-setting the costs.

He said:

Whilst grant support is essential if we are to make Go Underhill happen, as a community we need to help ourselves too, we can’t just look to others for funding.

 

We are calling on everyone who wants the development to become a reality to do their bit, by donating, by helping with fundraising, by offering their services or by making introductions to others who can help us.

 

This is a community project which will benefit everyone who lives or has a business here, as well as visitors to Mumbles, so let’s pull together as a community and get this done.”

The ‘self-help’ message was well received by the many attendees and lots of offers of help were made on the night, as well as in the following days. These include practical support with, amongst other things, building materials, equipment and labour; construction skills; fundraising and donations.

Both Mumbles Rangers football club and Mumbles Rugby Club are also preparing their own fundraising plans, drawing in all players, members, volunteers and their friends and families.

A number of businesses have also stated their intention to support Go Underhill, with details hopefully to be finalised over the next few weeks.