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Making a splash: Redeveloping Swansea

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A brand new water sports centre has opened in Swansea.

Situated along the seafront opposite St Helen’s, 360 Beach and Water Sports is a new community facility in Swansea Bay. The £1.4 million centre was delivered by Swansea Council and offers a diverse range of sports, including kite-surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and windsurfing.

Opco was main contractor on 360 Beach and Water Sports, whilst Capital Design Group was the architect. Swansea City and County Council provided quantity surveying services along with structural engineering and mechanical and electrical services.

Funding for the site was provided by the Wales European Funding Office and the Welsh Government, through Visit Wales and the Regeneration Area programme.

With work complete the centre will now be operated by Bay Sports Ltd – a not-for-profit partnership comprising Bay Leisure Ltd and Swansea University.

Swansea Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Councillor Nick Bradley, said:

“Swansea is fast developing an international reputation as a world class sporting city. We need to make the most of our stunning coastal location and the new water sports centre will generate more vibrancy on the promenade.

“The new centre complements what is already a fantastic sporting offer in Swansea, thanks to facilities like the Wales National Pool, our network for community leisure centres and the Liberty Stadium. It will also be a huge boost to have the water sports centre on a route that’s a key gateway to the outdoor playground of Gower.

“Our football and rugby teams are putting destination Swansea Bay on the world stage, but the new centre of excellence for water sports will further help us raise the profile of our outstanding natural location.

“The glorious sweep of Swansea Bay naturally lends itself as an amphitheatre for water sports and both residents and visitors are able to access a spectacular range of water sports equipment, expert advice and tuition.”

360 Beach and Water Sports offers a wide selection of sporting activities and training opportunities to appeal to a broad range of people, from sporting enthusiasts and students, to visiting tourists. Features of the centre include a beach-side bistro, changing facilities, a multi-function room and public toilets. In addition, 360 Beach and Water Sports also includes very unique state-of-the-art toilet facilities known as Changing Places, which cater for people with multiple or profound disabilities.

Swansea University Business Development and Marketing Manager, Ben Lucas, said:

“360 Beach and Water Sports sits right at the heart of the local community and we are keen to develop the Centre as an asset for the city that promotes access to sport for all.

“We wanted to ensure that we developed a brand that was consistent with our core values, and with 360 we believe we have created an identity that is welcoming and accessible to all whilst conveying a professional approach and commitment to world class service.”

Welsh National and British Surfing Champion, Renee Godfrey, said:

“I wholeheartedly support 360 Beach and Water Sports.

“The ideals behind the 360 brand – completeness, inclusivity and focus of the facility – go hand-in-hand with the approach Swansea University has to education and sport. It will add further value to the student experience, as well as the city’s sporting offering.”

In addition to the new 360 Beach and Water Sports facility, work has also been undertaken to improve other areas of Swansea. These projects include the replacement of an existing council building at Knab Rock and the redevelopment of Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.

The new facility at Knab Rock includes public toilets, showering facilities, changing rooms, an office and a tourism information point. Meanwhile Glynn Vivian Art Gallery is undergoing an extensive redevelopment scheme which will see the installation of new collection and exhibition areas, the creation of new social spaces – with Wi-Fi access and refreshments – and a variety of new rooms.

Structural work began on the project in early 2012 and will take two years to complete. The project is being funded by the Welsh Government, the Arts Council of Wales and the City and Council of Swansea.

Whilst work is being conducted on the refurbishment of Glynn Vivian Art Gallery an exciting off-site programme of activities and events has been arranged to take place at venues across the city.

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery Curator, Jenni Spencer-Davies, said:

“This will be an interesting and exciting time for the gallery and we hope that we can continue to develop and grow to ensure that the Glynn Vivian continues to thrive for future generations.”

For more information regarding the redevelopment works in Swansea please visit: www.swansea.gov.uk.

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