A Swansea-based company behind one of Wales’ leading tourist destinations has joined forces with Swansea University to win the tender to manage Wales’ first dual-purpose water and beach sports centre on Swansea Bay.
Bay Leisure Ltd 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 a year-round community facility focused on making the most of sporting opportunities both in the sea and on the adjoining beach.
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 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.
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.
“This 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 University in our partnership and creating a world-class community facility.”
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.
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.