Former bowls pavilion transformed into thriving community space

Grange Pavilion

Grange Pavilion

Residents in an area of Cardiff are celebrating the completion of a new £2m community centre.

Grange Pavilion is the culmination of a six-year partnership between Cardiff University’s Community Gateway project and resident groups Grange Pavilion Project and Grangetown Community Action. Together, they secured major funding from the National Lottery Fund, Welsh Government and additional supporters to build a new community centre on the site of the former bowls pavilion.

Located in the heart of the most ethnically diverse ward in Wales, Grange Pavilion will be a home for community-led activities that increase education, employment, skills, health and wellbeing outcomes.

The coronavirus pandemic has postponed plans for a grand opening. Instead, people have come together online to share what Grange Pavilion means to them and their community using #MyGrangePavilion.

The Community Gateway project has also worked in partnership with Grangetown residents to support more than 60 community-led initiatives. 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 the Pavilion in the future.’

Students from the Welsh School of Architecture worked closely with residents and architects Dan Benham and IBI group on designing the building. It has affordable rooms to hire, a café and an outdoor space for gardening and growing, so the community can generate an income and maintain the building for years to come.

The grounds have been specifically designed to maximise green space, biodiversity and opportunities to grow fruit and vegetables. This includes a research garden for the University with specific plants for pollinators to support a bee friendly city.

Professor 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, the people of Grangetown have shown that not even a global pandemic can stop them.’


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