The new Community and Activity Village complex is the YMCA’s impressive flagship project in Newark, based on Lord Hawke way off Bowbridge Road and, is already home to athletic track, a multi-use games area and two 3G football pitches.
As a non-profit charity with community needs at its heart, the core purpose of the YMCA’s multi-million-pound community investment will be to provide young people with a safe, caring and stimulating educational environment in which they can belong, contribute, and more importantly, thrive.
With a contract signed with RG Carter construction, the YMCA have now officially broken ground on the development of the main Village building and are working towards a provisional completion date of spring 2022. Planning permission is already in place for the entire project, which is being supported by a number of charitable trusts, community grants and fundraising events.
Dedicated to promoting youth development and social responsibility in the local area, plans for the Village’s main building will accommodate everything from youth training, education provisions and childcare through to health and fitness facilities and a community hub.
The not-for-profit community space is driven entirely by the firm belief that everyone deserves a chance to benefit from a broad range of educational and activity facilities for health, wellbeing and development. It’s a belief and mission that reflects the core value of the YMCA.
The Newark and Sherwood division stems back to 1871 when it was opened by a group of friends for people in Nottinghamshire, and it has been bringing positive support to communities ever since. In collaboration with Nottinghamshire YMCA, 2018 saw the launch of YMCA Newark and Sherwood as its own independent charity, shaped by local people with the aim to support local aspirations and challenges.
The concept of the Village is a clear testament to the commitment the YMCA is making to the area and follows an intense period of in-depth study and critical appraisal on the diversity of needs and challenges of the Newark and Sherwood communities. In particular, following national reports that alarmingly Newark and Sherwood has ranked as one of the worst areas in the country for social deprivation, with some wards facing life expectancies a dismal ten years less than the UK national average.
The new Village will offer a lifeline to Newark and Sherwood and as such has garnered huge support not just across the region but on a national level. Regional supporters include Nottinghamshire County Council, Newark Town Council, Newark and Sherwood District Council and FCC Communities.
Including the existing facilities, the entire development will cost approximately £16.5m - with the second phase alone costing £11.5m. The project has benefitted from incredible input from various funding streams ranging from D2N2, Football Foundation together with their partners at the Premier League and The FA (on behalf of the government), and Triodos community investment initiatives to name just a few.
The team at the YMCA are also continuing to work with key stakeholders to secure essential funding to ensure the project benefits fully from its vision.
It’s a worthy example of how a truly collaborative venture will unlock life-shaping opportunities for everyone in Newark and its surrounding areas.
Local and surrounding communities are already enjoying some aspects of the space with huge excitement surrounding the site and its full opening in 2022. There are a number of outdoor facilities which are already open at the site, including 3G football pitches for community and club use, a multi-use games court and an athletic track, plus numerous community projects ranging from exercise sessions and childcare to YMCA Digital workshops for students at colleges and schools such as Newark Academy.
Plans for the Village will be on three key areas – healthy living, youth development and social responsibility. Within these key areas, facilities will include a dance studio, cycle track, canoeing, integrated health services, skate park, art studio, digital media suites, recording and rehearsal space, nursery, education spaces and a community café, amongst many others from a varied and exciting list in what promises to be a true game-changer for the development of the community.
Some youth and family programmes have already begun, and these will be developed further to include a community training kitchen, adult education classes, youth-led community projects, volunteering, college courses and apprenticeships.
Once finished, the Village will be able to support thousands of community members each week across all areas and facilities, expecting approximately 1,000 people on-site at peak times. Facilities will be open to everyone to use and be accompanied by integrated programmes and scholarship schemes.
Pathways to education, qualifications and employment will enable learners to enrol on accredited courses with YMCA’s prospective education partners Lincoln College Group, Inspire, YMCA Awards and REAL Education. Apprenticeships will be core to the operation of the Village, integrating on-site accredited education and training with service delivery.
Todd Cauthorn, Executive Director for YMCA Newark and Sherwood explained:
"This pioneering flagship project is unique in that it puts the future of young people first."
“It is a privilege to be working with so many fantastic community-minded partners, and we are deeply grateful for the overwhelming support we have received so far from funders, local councils and the community to ensure our ambitious vision becomes a reality.
"By bringing together opportunities in sport, arts, business, education, and mental health, we will be able to make a significant and positive impact on the lives of people across North Nottinghamshire and beyond.”
The Village itself is just a starting point as YMCA will be developing services across the wider district over the coming years to help energise local people to fulfil their potential.
By 2024, the YMCA plans to accommodate at least 38 new apprenticeships in areas such as childcare, sports, leisure, hospitality, admin, finance, HR and IT, and at least 1,200 learners per year in addition to providing at least 137 full-time equivalent jobs.
The plans are inspirational and will bring that vital injection of positivity long awaited by the youth of the Newark and Sherwood area.
Details on the development and planned facilities along with opening hours and events for the facilities already on site are available from: ymcanewarksherwood.org