Centrus Communities teams up with Go Underhill

Centrus Communities teams up with Go Underhill

We are delighted to announce that Centrus Communities, the community support arm of a London based financial service group, has made a fantastic £15,000 donation to Go Underhill.

Centrus Communities is the vehicle through which Centrus Financial and its employees contribute to communities in a variety of ways, whether through donations, volunteering or pro bono support and advice to projects, charities and social enterprises.

The company’s co-founder and CEO, Phil Jenkins, is originally from Mumbles, and become aware of Go Underhill through his on-going links with the area and interest in what is happening locally. Knowing how long the community has been waiting for developments in Underhill to start, and wanting to do what he could to help, Phil not only brought the project to the Centrus Communities team but has also assisted MCA with reaching out to other Mumbles connections who now live elsewhere and helped with developing other ideas for raising the funds needed for the development.

Commenting on the support for Go Underhill, Phil said:

“Go Underhill is a fantastic project and I’m delighted that Centrus has been able to provide both financial support and advice on the fundraising process and to work with the great team of community volunteers bringing this project to life. Having played for both Mumbles Rangers and Mumbles Rugby club from a young age, Underhill Park holds very special memories for me.


“With friends and family in the area, I retain strong personal links with Mumbles and Centrus works with many social housing clients in South Wales, which makes it a great project for us to be involved with and our support underlines our commitment to delivering “Finance with Purpose”.

The donation by Centrus has already been committed to the Phase 1 building developments and is part of a package of funding which has enabled MCA to add the building of the waterproof shell for changing rooms 5 & 6 to the current construction contract with T.A.D. Builders.

Chair of MCA, Simon Tse, said:

“We are very grateful to Centrus, and to Phil, for this £15,000 donation. Both the funding itself and the assistance that is being given are making a real difference to MCA’s ability to deliver this longed for project for the community in Mumbles.


On behalf of the Trustees and the people of Mumbles, I would offer a huge ‘Thank you’.”

Centrus is an independent financial services group that provides advice & investment to the projects, companies & assets that matter to people, communities & the environment. Its work covers Housing and Real Estate, Energy and Utilities, Transportation and Education and Social Infrastructure sectors and it has a staff team with over 500 years combined experience, spanning banking, derivatives, debt capital markets, equity, & financing strategies.

Centrus Communities has been a key part of the company’s culture since its foundation in 2012, providing high impact, practical and fundraising support for inspiring charities. Its Communities activity reflects the company’s sectors of work, and it supports multiple projects with volunteering time, donations and professional input. The company also gives sustained support of 3 core charities, Single Homeless Project, WaterAid and Trees for Life.

Extra changing rooms are half way there!

Extra changing rooms are half way there!

Following a fantastic response from local businesses and community members, MCA is delighted to announce that the exterior construction of the two changing rooms which had to be excluded from the initial construction contract can now go ahead.

The significant cost increases which had occurred between the original costings in 2019 and tendering in 2021 meant that the contract signed with T.A.D. Builders Ltd in early January only included the foundations for changing rooms 5 & 6. Now, however, enough funding has become available to enable at least the building envelope to be constructed to create a weather-proof shell for these extra facilities.

With the contractors already on site and hard at work on the rest of the new facilities, adding the build of the two changing rooms to the existing T.A.D. contract is the most cost effective approach, as it can be done as part of the main construction work on site.

Chair of MCA, Simon Tse, said:

“MCA is delighted to announce that the support has come forward to enable us to construct the waterproof building shell for changing rooms 5 & 6. With the construction of the rest of the new facilities underway, people can see that the Go Underhill development is becoming a reality and have stepped up to the plate to help us do more than was possible at the start of the year.


“We are hugely grateful to the individuals and businesses who had already donated, including Joe’s Ice Cream, Dawsons, and Mumbles OAP Welfare Association, which has provided a base level of funding. And now with the additional donations we’ve received and some value engineering in the build, we have been able to take it a step further. This is very exciting news, and we will be announcing the names of those who have made donations to Go Underhill over the coming weeks.


“Whilst we still need to raise the money to fit out the changing rooms, this is such a positive step that we are convinced that we will get there and be able to fully complete all of the phase 1 buildings as part of the contract with T.A.D. Builders.


“With a fair wind, the whole of this stage of construction will be completed by the end of this year, which would be an incredible achievement.”

If you are able to donate, whether as a business or as an individual, have ideas to help with fundraising for the outstanding elements of the development, or want to get involved in Go Underhill in some other way, please do get in touch.

Digging in at Underhill

Digging in at Underhill

Construction work on the new facilities being developed in Underhill Park got underway today, with representatives from the charity behind it, Mumbles Community Association, and from a major funder, Mumbles Community Council, on site to mark the ground being broken for the first time.

Over the last few weeks, contractors TAD Builders have been securing the site compound and putting a haul road in place. The temporary road will enable materials and equipment to reach site whilst minimising damage to the grass and surrounding sports pitches and ensuring the safety of Park visitors.

But now the real work is getting underway, which marks an exciting time for the development, and a time which many weren’t convinced would ever arrive.

Simon Tse, Chair of Mumbles Community Association, said:

“What a day for the Mumbles community and for everyone who enjoys the delights of playing in or just strolling through Underhill Park. It’s hard to believe that we’re underway and that the long held dreams for Underhill are now being turned into a reality.”

Chair of Mumbles Community Council, Cllr Dr Martin O’Neill, said:

“It is really exciting to now see diggers on the ground as this is the culmination of a lot of hard work. Bringing a project of this scale to fruition is not an easy task it takes a lot of commitment, focus and dedication from the whole team. For far too long the people of Mumbles have waited for this development and I cannot wait to see the local community enjoying these new improved facilities.”

Underhill Park will be open to visitors throughout the build period, although there will restricted access close to the construction site.

All main sports pitches and changing rooms will remain available to Mumbles Rangers Football Club players and Mumbles Rugby Club players throughout, although Cricket will not be possible this summer as the opportunity is being taken to use surplus soil to level part of the Park between the soccer pitch and the cricket square.

Whilst the main pitches are unaffected, visitors to the Park are asked to be conscious that there will be construction traffic going to site through the car park entrance off Newton Road. This will be on weekdays and can be at any time during daylight hours. TAD Builders will be ensuring that deliveries are escorted by traffic marshals from the Newton Road turn off to the entrance to the haul road. Anyone planning to visit the Park, particularly at peak times, is asked be extra careful when arriving or leaving the car park.

Cllr Will Thomas, MCC representative on Go Underhill working group, said:

“This Underhill development was the very reason I entered local politics. I am over the moon that we were able to deliver this in my council term. A big thanks to everyone at MCA for all their hard work and to previous MCC Councillor Carwyn Thomas who also played a key role in delivering this for the community.”

Cllr Rebecca Fogarty of MCC, who is also part of the working group, added:

“Like so many in our community, I am thrilled that work has started on the facilities at Underhill. I am really pleased that MCC has been able to support this project to enable it to go ahead; the Underhill project is a fantastic example of community partnership working and of what we can achieve when we work together.”

In this first phase, the Go Underhill development will comprise new changing rooms, with facilities for referees and on site physio, a new Community Hub & Café, which will run an activity programme and also be available for hire, a refurbished Pavilion and new public toilets.

To date, funding for Go Underhill has come through grants from Mumbles Community Council, The National Lottery Communities Fund, Welsh Government Community Facilities Programme, Welsh Rugby Union, plus donations from local businesses – Joe’s Ice cream and Dawsons Property – as well as from community groups and individuals.

Future plans include a new All-weather pitch, for which funding is currently being sought.

Main picture (L to R): Cllr Rebecca Fogarty (MCC), David Wilson (MCA), Fiona Rees (MCA), Gerwyn Jones (MCA), Simon Tse (MCA), Mike Podbielski (MCA), Cllr Dr Martin O’Neill (MCC), Carwyn Thomas (formerly MCC), Delwyn Jones (TAD), Adam Jones (TAD), Leighton Barnet (TAD)

Underhill is ‘Go’

Underhill is ‘Go’

Work on Go Underhill, which will see the building of new facilities, including changing rooms, a new Community Hub & Café and new public toilets, in Underhill Park in Mumbles has been confirmed. Mumbles Community Association (MCA), the charity behind the development, has now formally let a construction contract to Llanelli based T.A.D. Builders Ltd.

The news comes after Mumbles Community Council (MCC) decided to increase their support for the project to cover a shortfall in funding which has occurred because of significant rises in construction costs over the last 18 months. The increases are due to the well-documented impacts of Brexit and the COVID pandemic on the construction industry as a whole.

Although Mumbles Community Association had managed to secure almost £377,000 from The National Lottery Communities Fund towards the build, plus £250,000 from the Welsh Government Community Facilities Programme (CFP) and £25,000 from WRU, MCC’s original grant offer of £875,000 proved to be the game changer which eventually allowed the project to be formally tendered in September 2021.

Whilst Mumbles Community Association was hoping for the best, the charity was anticipating that the tenders received could be over the budget due to the extended period between this being calculated by professional advisers and it being in a position to let a contract. This proved to be the case, but worse, the level of increase was eye-watering.

Recognising the time limits on the £250,000 grant offer from CFP, how much the community in Mumbles have wanted new facilities, and how long they have waited for a scheme to be delivered in Underhill, MCC has stepped in to provide an additional £365,000 of funding to enable the core scheme to get underway.

The construction contract awarded to T.A.D. Builders Ltd. covers the refurbishment of the existing Pavilion, the building of four new changing rooms and the new Community Hub & Café. The base for the additional two changing rooms will also be put in place as part of this contract so that these can be completed as part of the build should Mumbles Community Association be able to secure the extra £200,000 needed during the construction period.

The costs for adding the extra changing rooms after the initial contract is completed would be significantly higher, so the charity’s Trustees will be working hard to try to secure this funding during 2022.

The last, but very important, element of phase 1 of the Go Underhill development is a new floodlit all-weather pitch (AWP). This can only be delivered once the main buildings have been completed since the existing changing rooms need to be demolished to free up some of the space required to accommodate the new pitch. Whilst MCC has removed its formal commitment to grant £325,000 to towards the cost of the AWP in order to provide the additional funding needed to enable the construction contract to be let, the Council has reaffirmed their commitment to exploring future options for funding this element of the development. With all parties working together, it is hoped that the full funding for the AWP can be secured in time for work to start on it soon after the new buildings have been completed.

Chair of Mumbles Community Association, Simon Tse, said:

“After so many years of MCA Trustees and our wider support team working on the plans for Underhill Park, securing all the permissions needed, and trying to pull together the resources to make it happen, we all have a huge mix of emotions right now.


“We are ecstatic that we’ve been able to let the construction contract, even though this is not as comprehensive as we had hoped for. We are relieved that we are finally going to see the first part of the plans delivered, grateful to all our funders but in particular to Mumbles Community Council, and so excited for the people of Mumbles.


“If I’m honest, I think our team of volunteer Trustees is also a bit exhausted by the extended and convoluted processes we have had to go through to arrive at the starting line. But that feeling will soon be replaced by exhilaration as we start to see things finally taking shape in Underhill Park.


“And with our professional team looking after the build, the charity Trustees will be focusing our energies on raising the funding for the final two changing rooms and a new all-weather pitch, as well as starting to plan for MCA taking on the management of Underhill Park.


“The efforts made to get to this point have been incredible and I can’t thank everyone who has been involved enough. This development truly will be by the community, for everyone.”

With the contract now formally awarded, T.A.D. Builders Ltd. will begin preparations to get onto site in Underhill Park, with a start planned for 17 January. Work is expected to take around 12 months to complete.

T.A.D. Builders Ltd.’s Commercial Director, Delwyn Jones, said:

T.A.D. Builders Ltd. are delighted to be a part of this community project, and able to assist Mumbles Community Association to achieve their vision by transforming the green heart of Mumbles so it is fit for the future.



Update on Underhill construction tenders

Update on Underhill construction tenders

Having received four completed tenders for the construction works for the Phase 1 developments at Underhill Park, MCA Trustees are now assessing the submissions.

It was hoped that this would be a relatively straightforward process, but unfortunately all of the tenders are over the project budget, which was set based on estimates completed in early 2020.

The higher tender costs were something that MCA had been led to expect by professional advisers, based on the well documented issues in the constriction supply chain due to Brexit and COVID, which have led to significant industry wide price increases over the last 18 months. And with a build period of around 12 months, tendering companies have had to take a best guess at what future prices and issues might be.

Working with our professional advisers, MCA is now evaluating the detail of the tenders submitted and exploring options for delivering the project. The team is working towards awarding a contract to start in early January 2022.

Tender invitations out for Phase 1 building works

Tender invitations out for Phase 1 building works

The Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the Phase 1 building works has now gone out.

It has been sent to five companies who had expressed an interest and had been assessed by our professional team as being capable of delivering the building works required.

The ITT covers the refurbishment of the Pavilion, the new Community Hub and Café, the four changing room block and the extra two changing room block, as shown in the picture, plus the new services these buildings will need.

Those companies sent the ITT will have six weeks until the deadline for submitting, after which MCA will be reviewing the submissions… and in the meantime keeping our fingers crossed that inflation, BREXIT and COVID have not had too big an impact on our budgets, which we prepared in early 2020.

Update – 04 November 2021

Mumbles Community Association has extended the deadline for the return of tenders for the Phase 1 building works at Underhill Park.

The decision has been made as a result of feedback from the companies who have been invited to submit a bid for the work.

A number of these companies have informed MCA that they are experiencing staff shortages and other challenges and these pressures have already led to two companies withdrawing. It has been possible to replace one of these companies, but to ensure that all the remaining companies are able to submit their best price, the decision has been made to extend the deadline for the submissions by two weeks.

Final tenders will now be submitted by 19 November.

Time will be needed to evaluate the four submissions expected, so a decision on the successful tender is likely to be made in December.