A Swansea company behind one of Wales’ leading tourist destinations has joined forces with a leading Welsh university to win the tender to manage Wales’ first dual purpose water and beach sports centre on Swansea Bay.
Bay Leisure Ltd, the not for profit company that manages leisure attraction the LC, will create a partnership with Swansea University to manage the venture that is set to open opposite St Helen’s ground in Swansea this autumn. Central to the partnership’s winning bid was their focus on creating an all year-round community facility focused on making the most of sporting opportunities both in the sea and on the adjoining beach.
By partnering with existing water sports businesses in the area, the centre will offer a range of sports to individuals of all ability levels including windsurfing, kayaking, kite surfing, open water swimming and stand up paddle boarding.
The great expanse of beach on Swansea Bay also means that beach sports and activities will play an equally important role in the proposed programme which will include sports such as beach volleyball, beach rugby, beach football as well as more casual activities such as petanque, frisbee and kiting.
The centre, which is yet to be named, will focus on providing a community facility that is inclusive and accessible to everyone. The facilities will include a café, changing facilities, toilets and a multi-function room on site.
The centre will also include a state-of-the-art Changing Places toilet for use by people with multiple or profound disabilities – one of the only foreshore facilities of its kind in Wales.
As well as offering sports and activities from the centre itself, it will also become a one-stop-shop and signposting point for all things beach and water sport related throughout Swansea and Gower, by developing working partnerships with existing third party operators, national governing bodies, and sporting groups.
Richard Proctor, Chief Executive of Bay Leisure Ltd, said: “This development is a great coup for Swansea and provides the city with an excellent opportunity to develop Swansea’s reputation as providing some of the best water sports experiences in the UK. With the addition of the beach based activities, this centre will be a great asset to the local community. We hope to make it even easier to have a go at a wide range of sports and activities, all available right on your doorstep.
“Bay Leisure and Swansea University are both local organisations and strong contributors to the local economy. We believe, that as a partnership, we not only understand but also can respond to the needs of our local and regional communities. We have successfully operated the LC for nearly four years and as a result we are highly experienced at promoting sports and leisure services to both the local community and to tourist markets. We are proud to play such a fundamental role in enhancing, improving and developing the sport and leisure offering for people living in and visiting Swansea. This is a highly prestigious contract that reflects Bay Leisure and the University’s commitment to the area. We’re really looking forward to working closely with Swansea niversity in our partnership and creating a world-class community facility.”
Paul Robinson, Head of Commercial Services at Swansea University, said: “We believe that the strengths and expertise of both organisations, results in a unique and outstanding operational partnership. The partnership aims to drive inclusivity and accessibility for all through sports, physical activity and social opportunity – thus embedding education, well being and lifelong learning into the community. We are committed to the city and to improving access to sport and recreation for all. This contract gives us the chance to engage, involve and inspire people from all walks of life and is an opportunity that we fully embrace. The University will offer a global context to the partnership, opening new markets and promoting the Centre and the city around the world.””
Swansea Council awarded the management contract to the Bay Leisure Ltd and Swansea University partnership after a rigorous selection process. There will be no financial assistance or subsidy from the council to run the centre and any profits made will be re-invested back into the centre.
The construction of centre is being funded by the Welsh Government through Visit Wales as part of its Coastal Tourism programme and is backed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Regeneration Area Programme.
Councillor Graham Thomas, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Recreation and Tourism, said: “This centre for watersports is part of a package of projects that will make Swansea Bay a Centre of Excellence for Watersports.Swansea already has a terrific reputation as a home to watersports activity and this centre will further raise the city’s profile.
“I’m sure the working partnership with Bay Leisure Ltd and Swansea University will lead to a tremendously successful venture that will enhance Swansea’s status as a must-visit destination for outdoor activities.”
Construction work has already started on the centre with completion expected late this summer with a view to opening to the public in the autumn.
Posted onbehalf of MGB PR. For more information please contact Natasha Fulford at MGB PR 01792 460200.
- Friday 24 February 2012 00.00 GMT
- Wednesday 22 February 2012 15.45 GMT
- Swansea University, Tel: 01792 513245