Cardiff University: Grangetown community celebrates launch of the Grange Pavilion

Members of the public descended on the former bowls pavilion on Saturday to take part in a host of activities, from science and art classes to sport sessions delivered by Cardiff City and Cricket Wales.

Local businesses were on hand selling food and drink, against a backdrop of music and dance performances throughout the day.

Schoolchildren from local area nurseries and schools were tasked with cutting the ribbon on the Pavilion, after winning a competition in which they were tasked with creating something that represented what Grangetown meant to them.

Members of the public also got the chance to speak to and interact with funders, community groups and university partners that have worked on the £1.8m redevelopment project over the last decade.

The Grange Pavilion is managed by the Grange Pavilion CIO, a charitable organization with 60% residents and organizational partners Cardiff University, Cardiff Bay Rotary Club, Cardiff and Vale College, Taff Housing Association and RSPB.

Cardiff University’s Community Gateway has supported more than 70 community-university projects since 2012, making connections between Cardiff University staff, students and Grangetown residents to collaboratively bring community-led ideas such as the Grange Pavilion to life.

Other Grangetown-Cardiff University partnership projects include the award-winning Grange Pavilion Youth Forum, a Grangetown Business Forum and Grangetown World Market, a Pharmabees Citizen Science programme, the Run Grangetown social running group, Promoting Academic Excellence (PACE) mentoring, an annual mental health day, annual Careers and Role Model weeks and an annual Love Grangetown planning and celebration day.

The Grange Pavilion CIO worked collaboratively with Benham Architects, IBI group, and CDF Planning on the complete renovation of the Pavilion and a one-storey addition at the east edge of the bowls green.

Part of the Pavilion has been built with bee, bird and bat bricks to create a hive for insects and animal activity, and to provide a nesting place.

Inside, three large sociable spaces can be booked and used by community residents and groups that include homework clubs, art therapy and indoor sports activities.

An external classroom has also been designed, creating an outdoor learning and collaboration space linked to the local school and after-school community gardening activities.

The £1.8m redevelopment was completed in 2020 and opened in the autumn of that year, with an online launch after building works were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further winter lockdowns forced the building to close after only a few weeks and did not re-open until May 2021.

Community Gateway project lead, Mhairi McVicar, said: “This event was a fantastic celebration of all the years of working together. Over the last decade, the Grange Pavilion has brought together hundreds of individuals and organizations across Grangetown and across Cardiff University. This started as a small group of residents proposing to do something about a vacant building in a local park. The partnerships which have grown as a result are committed to making this community-led and managed facility work in the long term, and the support for the Grange Pavilion was visible to everyone today.”