Today, Grangetown residents are celebrating raising nearly £2m towards building a new community facility in partnership with Cardiff University’s Community Gateway project with a digital celebration.
The partnership between the university and resident groups Grange Pavilion Project and Grangetown Community Action was first formed in 2014 and secured major funding from the National Lottery Fund, Welsh Government and additional supporters to help transform an old bowls pavilion into a thriving community space.
Located in the heart of the most ethnically diverse ward in Wales, Grange Pavilion will provide residents with opportunities to take part in community-led activities that increase education, employment, skills, health and wellbeing outcomes.
The coronavirus pandemic has postponed plans for a grand opening that allows Grangetown residents and those involved to celebrate all their fundraising efforts. However, they have come together online to share what Grange Pavilion means to them and their community using #MyGrangePavilion.
The new co-produced community building will be fully accessible and open to all and has been designed for self-sustainability once the funding stops.
It offers affordable rooms-for-hire to external organisations, a community-focused café and an outdoor space for gardening and growing, so the community can generate an income and maintain the building for years to come.
Cardiff University’s Community Gateway project has worked in partnership with Grangetown residents for the last six years, supporting more than 60 community-led initiatives alongside Grange Pavilion.
This includes a weekly Youth Forum, a social running group and a mental health peer support group, all of which can now meet at the new building.
Ali Abdi, Grangetown resident and member of the Community Gateway team said: “The community in Grangetown is made up of people of all different backgrounds, so to have a mutual building to bring all of these communities together has always been at the forefront of our conversations with this project.
“The Youth Forum was set up to listen to the voices of young people in Grangetown and connect them with various opportunities they may not usually have, such as sports and training clubs or careers coaching. The members of the forum are really getting behind the digital celebrations, sharing their stories and hopes for what the centre will bring to Grangetown.”
Ayah Abduldaim, member of the Youth Forum and girls’ football coach said: “Grangetown is special to me because I’ve lived and grown up here since 2011. I can’t wait to be able to use the new Grange Pavilion and encourage girls from our football project to come along, get involved in physical activities and take part in the events that will be taking place in Grange Pavilion in the future.”
Through effective partnership working, the project has already enabled long-term change in the community and across the university through initiatives such as the annual Careers and Role Models Week, which makes higher education more accessible to people in Grangetown.
Students from the Welsh School of Architecture also worked closely with residents on developing and designing the Grange Pavilion building to meet the diverse needs of the community.
The grounds have been specifically designed to maximise green space, biodiversity and opportunities to grow fruit and vegetables, which encourages local sustainability.
This includes a research garden for the university with specific plants for pollinators that residents can also benefit from to make their own honey.
Colin Riordan, Vice Chancellor of Cardiff University said: “Community Gateway is one of the university’s flagship engagement projects that utilises world-class research and student volunteers to make a real difference. Grange Pavilion is an excellent example of our continuing ambition to work with communities like Grangetown to promote social cohesion and community resilience. Despite not being able to physically come together to share in this huge achievement, Grangetown has shown that not even a global pandemic can stop them.”
Once opened, Grange Pavilion will enhance the community’s ability to run even more initiatives for the long-term benefit of the people of Grangetown.