Gwynedd Council’s £8.3 m plans for a National Sailing Academy and Pwllheli Events Centre will receive Welsh Assembly Government backing from the European Regional Development Fund and the Targeted Match Fund, creating some 8.5 jobs and further employment opportunities as the development gets underway.
The centre at Pwllheli will develop the area as an internationally recognised sailing venue and offer facilities to stage sailing competitions of the highest order. It will also provide opportunities for novice sailors, encourage more people to learn outdoor activity skills as well as be a resource for the wider community.
Announcing the funding at Pwllheli Sailing Club, Minister for Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, said:
“I am delighted that Welsh Assembly Government support will help bring social and economic benefits to the region through this project.
"It will also help with our commitment to increasing participation in sport and physical activity by ensuring that more people than ever before can take advantage of the splendid facilities here in Pwllheli and have the chance to enjoy sailing. The new facilities will also allow the club to host more events and attract more tourism to the area.”
Minister for Business and Budget Jane Hutt said:
"I am pleased that our management of European Structural Funds is enabling us to move ahead with this project, creating more opportunities for people, communities and businesses in Pwllheli and beyond."
The plans include a new Academy building on Glan Don peninsula to provide changing rooms, meeting and training rooms, lecture rooms and a restaurant and bar and the final design could incorporate a balcony so that people can watch the activities on the water. The proposal also includes additional berths which will help attract more national and international competitions to the area.
The venture will allow more local people, especially children and young people, to have the chance to take to the water. The proposal will also provide new training opportunities, and seek to enable local young people to take advantage of employment opportunities in the outdoor activities sector.
Councillor Dewi Lewis, Gwynedd Council’s Economy and Community Portfolio Leader, said:
“Cardigan Bay is recognised as one of the best areas in the British Isles for sailing because of the local environment and landscape. I am confident that this exciting project will exploit these features and will build on the existing facilities.
“More emphasis than ever is being put on outdoor activities and we are eager to give children, of all backgrounds, the opportunity to enjoy Gwynedd’s magnificent natural resources. I am delighted that the new academy will be able to meet this need and will provide new skills and work locally.
“These plans have been developed following a period of intensive consultation with a variety of groups and organisations.”
The project is the result of years of work for Gwynedd Council’s Economy and Community Service and its partners, especially Pwllheli Sailing Club. The scheme is aimed at helping to support and promote the area’s economy and community by making the most of Cardigan Bay’s natural resources as sailing waters.
Gwynedd Council will deliver the scheme in partnership with Pwllheli Sailing Club; the Welsh Assembly Government; North Wales Water Sports; Plas Menai; Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor and the Welsh Yachting Association.
Stephen Tudor, Pwllheli Sailing Club’s Secretary, said:
“The Sailing Club has been very successful in attracting national and international sailing competitions. There is no doubt that this provides a huge boost to the local economy as people from all over the world come here to sail, and they also see what else the area has to offer.
“The current facilities are unsuitable and insufficient compared to other sailing clubs and venues, so we are over the moon to see these plans for a sailing academy and events centre taking fruition. This will secure our place in the competitive outdoor activities market, and also means we can attract ever more significant events.”