New community hub in Grangetown

16 June 2016

Grangetown Bowling Pavillion

A disused bowls pavilion in Grangetown is being brought back to life as a new community hub thanks to Cardiff University.

University engagement project Community Gateway and community partners Grange Pavilion Project and Grangetown Community Action are launching Grange Pavilion as a temporary space for community-University activities.

The Cardiff Council-owned pavilion has been vacant since 2014 and has been taken on by the University on a 12-month temporary licence.

Mairead Collett, a Grangetown resident and member of the Grange Pavilion Project, said: “We’re delighted that after several years the shutters and doors of the pavilion will be open.

“It’s been an eyesore in Grange Gardens, shut down and inaccessible behind closed gates for too long.

“It has been a struggle to get to where we are now but we’re excited about the building and how it can start to become the vibrant meeting place and community garden we envisaged.”

The official launch takes place at the Grangetown Festival on 18 June at 12:00.

Vale College students

The building has undergone minor improvements to spruce it up for the temporary licence period, with support from N&M Construction, Dan Benham Architect and Cardiff and Vale College students, who have been hard at work on the refurbishment as part of their studies.

IKEA Cardiff has also shown great interest in the community hub and supported the initiative by donating a brand new kitchen.

John Ennis, from Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC), said: “CAVC is passionate about engaging with and developing community links and this project was an ideal opportunity.

“The work at the pavilion offers our learners valuable on-the-job training and opportunities to develop real life skills that could help them get into paid work.

“In the main the learners have some fun whilst developing their skills and confidence in working as a team or individually.”

The launch day will see Welsh School of Architecture students exhibiting some of the ideas for what could happen on the site.

Grange Gardens

Mhairi McVicar, Academic Lead of Community Gateway, said: “The idea of bringing the pavilion back to life came from people within the community who wanted a central space accessible to all.

“It’s fantastic to see this come to fruition. It will be a real asset for Grangetown but in many ways the work is just starting.

“The next steps are to hear everybody’s ideas about how to make best use of the building in the long term, and how to support a Community Asset Transfer bid.”

‘Pop up’ activities have already been taking place at the pavilion including a storytelling event, a philosophy cafĂ©, a mental health and wellbeing day and a winter fair.

The aim now is to establish a regular programme of community-led events that could include community workshops, training, networking events and mother & baby groups, as well as Grangetown community and Cardiff University partnership events.

The Community Gateway team will be based at the pavilion alongside Grangetown Community Action.

Ashley Lister, Secretary of Grangetown Community Action, said: "It's been great to work alongside the Community Gateway team on yet another of their access projects.

“The real pleasure has been working with the residents who have brought this project to life. Their commitment, effort and passion for the pavilion has been an inspiration, and shown what a community can achieve when they set their heart and mind to it.”

Community Gateway is one of the University's five flagship engagement projects, otherwise known as its Transforming Communities programme. The University is working with Welsh Government and communities in Cardiff, Wales and beyond in areas including health, education and wellbeing.

Anyone with ideas about how the pavilion could be used over the next 12 months and in the longer term please contact Community Gateway at communitygateway@cardiff.ac.uk or 029 2087 0532.