The Mayor of Newark joined supporters in grabbing a spade to celebrate the beginning of construction work on our new Community and Activity Village.

A congregation of sports organisations and charity supporters turned out on Wednesday 23 May to see work officially begin on the long-anticipated community project by YMCA Newark and Sherwood.

Key representatives from Newark Athletic Club, Newark Town Football Club, RHP Football Club, dignitaries, and senior figures from our parent charity, Nottinghamshire YMCA, attended to show their support.

With diggers onsite and the area cleared by Nottinghamshire YMCA volunteer litter-pickers earlier this month, the land had already been primed for the £13million project to begin between Elm Avenue and Bowbridge Road, in Newark.

The programme offer is set to include a varied range of services including a community cafe, before and after school clubs, nursery and crèche, day camps, inclusive sports, adventure sports, climbing wall and family activities.

Fantastic community journey

Spirits were high as spades hit soil, with this moment signifying years of hard work coming together and the beginning of a fantastic journey for our local community.

“It is great to be involved in a project where the whole community can benefit,” said Craig Berens, Chief Operating Officer at Nottinghamshire YMCA.

“Newark has been waiting for this for a long time. It is not just in sport where people are going to see the benefits, and there is space for further education, the arts, and other activities.”

Chris Wade, Chairman of the Newark Town FC, added: “I have been involved in this project for five years so to see diggers and earth being moved around is amazing. A lot is being done on the site where the pitches and earth will be. When it is complete it will be amazing.”

The Mayor joins YMCA Newark and Sherwood CEO Will Wakefield and supporters

‘First-class facilities’

Football pitches will be the first section to be finished and open for use in September 2018. The rest of the ‘phase one’ work, which is planned for completion by the end of October 2018, will feature the following:

  • Athletics track
  • 3G all-weather community sports pitch
  • Carpark
  • Embankment works
  • A temporary changing hub

A permanent building with changing rooms will be built at a later stage, and a cycle track, skate park, tennis courts and other community spaces are also planned.

While final timescales cannot yet be confirmed, it is hoped that the bulk of work on the village will be completed by September 2020.

Noting how the Village will give more athletes an opportunity to excel in the region, President of Newark Athletic Club Gareth Bagguley enthused: “The big change for us will be having first-class field facilities.

“For example, if a young person wants to learn to pole vault you cannot do it without a pole vault! That side of the club will expand and we will see great results.

“We have managed to develop great talent with not-so-great facilities in the past. Now we want to give more opportunities.”

Mayoral support

The athletics club also has big plans of hosting a ‘throwing’ academy – possibly including discus, javelin, hammer and shot-put – when it uses the track.

YMCA Newark and Sherwood was delighted to see Mayor of Newark, Tony Roberts, turn out to show his support at this breaking ground event.

“You have got to see the culmination of the big plan,” explained Mayor Roberts.

“Close by, we have the leisure centre and the new care centre, which have been popular. We have had to put more car-parking spaces in the leisure centre. For a town the size of Newark to have these plans and have this much potential is encouraging. There is an awful lot to be optimistic about.”

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To enquire or book a facility at YMCA Newark and Sherwood’s Community and Activity Village, please call 01636 880624 or email