Granted by the Football Foundation, together with their partners at the Premier League, The FA and Sport England (on behalf of the Government), this generous funding has been presented to help shape the education and changing facilities being built at the YMCA’s transformational Community and Activity Village in Newark.

Expanding horizons for young people at the evolving YMCA Village is a particular focus, with this funding opening doors for developing educational programmes and creating opportunities through football, to engage young people from a diverse range of backgrounds across the region. The hope is to energise schools, community members, local clubs and other organisations in Newark and Sherwood to learn new skills by exploring the benefits of outdoor exercise.

The grant has been awarded as part of the Football Foundation’s National Football Facilities Strategy to revolutionise grassroot football facilities in the local area and unlock the power of football to transform lives.

“We are deeply grateful for the Football Foundation and our funders for empowering us to build life-shaping education facilities that will support young people to belong, contribute and thrive in their communities,” said Todd Cauthorn, Executive Director at YMCA Newark and Sherwood.

“Football is a beloved community pastime that brings with it numerous health benefits, ranging from improved physical fitness to positive mental health nurtured though team-building and socialising. This funding to support our ambitious YMCA Village project will go a long way to helping safeguard this grassroot sport for future generations to come.”

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “We know the huge benefits playing regular football can have on individuals’ physical and mental well-being. That is why we are committed to transforming the face of grassroots football facilities in this country. It is therefore very welcome news to hear that this funding will support the YMCA in developing this state-of-the-art facility for their local community.

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“Working with our partners – the Premier League, The FA, government and Sport England – we will be investing in over £1bn worth of local facilities across the country over the next decade.  We believe we can transform lives and strengthen communities by unlocking the power of pitches and this is another project that brings us closer to that ultimate goal.”

The grant comes on the back of YMCA securing a Pitch Preparation Fund award for £2,500 from the same funders, which was set up to provide support for clubs that have lost out on normal revenue streams due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPF grant enabled YMCA to re-crumb and prepare the Village’s Community 3G pitch so it is match-fit for when it is safe to play football again in line with government guidelines.

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Other funding secured for this community provision includes just over £4,500 support from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, which YMCA has already accessed to build a stand for the use and benefit of any of the clubs that use the Village, such as Newark Town Football Club, as they aspire to move up the football ladder.

Clubs and other organisations are also being given access to the Football Foundation Groundskeeping Community. This is a free online resource the Foundation developed with The FA and the Grounds Management Association, containing advice and guidance. Anyone in Newark and Sherwood can sign up on their website.

For a progress update on the new Community and Activity Village, please visit YMCA Newark and Sherwood’s website.