All eyes were on YMCA Newark and Sherwood as staff, guests and members of the local community gathered to celebrate the launch of the outdoor sports facilities at the charity’s new Community and Activity Village.

Our #ReasonY

Afternoon festivities were kicked off at the village’s Bowbridge Road site on Monday 12 November 2018 by councillors Keith Walker and Tony Roberts who cut the ceremonial ribbon and declared the charity’s two 3G football pitches and new athletics track officially open for business.

Guests were invited come along, celebrate the opening of these first sports facilities and gain a better understanding of the ‘mind, body and spirit’ vision, which the YMCA is looking to place at the heart of creating a stronger community in Newark and Sherwood.

Mayoral representatives cutting ribbon
Councillors Keith Walker and Tony Roberts cutting the ribbon

Core to this introduction was a wonderful video presentation entitled ‘ReasonY’, which celebrates three staff members of the Nottinghamshire YMCA who began as young people benefitting from the services and support the YMCA offers.

YMCA Newark and Sherwood aims to be a hub for healthy living, youth development and social responsibility within the local community. To help breathe life and colour into this ambitious vision, guests were treated to a series of engaging talks after the ribbon cutting ceremony to learn more about what this new project has in store.

‘Inclusivity in sport’

After welcomes and introductions, guests enjoyed three keynote speeches. Firstly, from Will Wakefield, CEO at YMCA Newark and Sherwood, who spoke of the charity’s ambitions to make long-term positive changes in response to issues faced by the community of Newark. Poor social mobility, low educational attainment and a growing obesity crisis in the area are all things which will be tackled and supported by the YMCA’s vision to create a safe space whereby people from all walks of life can come together and pursue their own passions.

Inspirational speeches were then delivered by two celebrated sportspeople – highlighting the impact of local sports opportunities and, most importantly, the life-changing role of inclusivity in sport.

British athlete Richard Whitehead MBE holds the world record for athletes with a double amputation in both the full and half marathon. In his speech, he spoke of the huge significance and importance of local support within communities, and his own experiences in not giving up when faced with challenges. Key to this is the provision of better, more inclusive and accessible facilities – something which is central to the plans of the YMCA Newark and Sherwood.

Following Richard was a stirring speech by Laura Basset, a professional footballer and former member of the Football England Squad who highlighted how football has changed for young females over the years. Laura stressed how inclusivity and opportunities on a local level play a fundamental part in the engagement of young people from all backgrounds.

Let the games begin…

Young players from You Can Do Sport then took to our brand new 3G pitches at the Community and Activity Village, while other guests were treated to a tour of the state-of-the-art facilities. You Can Do Sportis Newark’s only multi-sports academy, and the YMCA is proud to partner with them as they utilise our wonderful new sports facilities.

If you would like to learn more about the football and athletics provisions now open for bookings at the YMCA Community and Activity Village, visit or email