A LONG-awaited project to transform Mumbles’s Underhill Park looks more secure than ever, thanks to a National Lottery award of nearly £490,000.
It means that local charity Mumbles Community Association (MCA) will be able to build a new community hub and cafe – the first part of a wider scheme for the well-used park.
The funding will also pay for a community development coordinator for three years, who will work with local groups, schools and health services to create a varied programme of activities.
The community hub and cafe will be part of a larger pavilion which will contain changing rooms for sports teams and referees, and new public toilets.
The building, along with a floodlit all-weather sports pitch, has planning permission from Swansea Council.
Simon Tse, chairman of MCA, said he was thrilled with the National Lottery Communities Fund money.
He thanked everyone who bought Lottery tickets.
“To be awarded the full amount we requested demonstrates the value of the proposals we put forward,” said Mr Tse.
“The new hub will be a tremendous asset for the people of Mumbles, and we will be working hard to ensure it offers a lively and varied activity programme which provides something for everyone.”
Some businesses have contributed money to the project – known as Go Underhill – including Joe’s Ice Cream, while Mumbles Community Council has agreed to underwrite it to the tune of £1.2 million, although this excludes the community hub and cafe element.
Underhill Park is home to Mumbles rugby club and Mumbles Rangers football club.
The Welsh Rugby Union has previously offered to contribute £25,000 – and MCA would strongly welcome any and all offers of support.
It is expected that Swansea Council will formally hand over the management of Underhill Park to MCA via a lease when the community hub and pavilion are completed. Building work could start next spring.
Mumbles Community Council chairman Martin O’Neill said the £490,000 award was fantastic news, and that the community council wanted to ensure the park served the needs of local people and visitors.
He said: “It is great to see so many people coming together in support of the plans for Underhill and I am sure that before too long this communal effort will result in real improvements to the facilities there.”