YMCA gives new learners a ‘Big Welcome’ at Newark College

There was a buzz of excitement at Newark College this week as students enjoyed a ‘Big Welcome’ festival of fun, food and freebies delivered by community partners to welcome the class of 2021/22.

YMCA Newark and Sherwood wasted no time in cracking out a range of interactive activities to enrich the experience for learners, including the youth charity’s Gaga Pit – a giant inflatable game designed to get young people moving and working together.

YMCA gives new learners a ‘Big Welcome’ at Newark College

It was lovely to see the college’s outside quad area dressed with colourful parasols, deck chairs and bunting to provide a designated ‘chill out’ area for students. The college also gave out free re-usable bottles to encourage students to drink more water and use less plastic. These can be refilled at water stations around the campus.

Media student Jermaine Jones reflected: “It’s been really good! I got some free food, played table football and I think it’s a good way to get to know more people here.”

Caroline Cartwright, Marketing Manager at YMCA Newark and Sherwood, said: “We’re all very excited to be supporting young people as they begin their next chapter of education at Newark College. It was fantastic to see that our Gaga Pit was a real hit with the new learners! ‘Gaga Ball’ is an inflatable, below-the-knee dodgeball game and it was great to see the students having a go and having fun together.

“We are looking forward to building opportunities for students in the Newark area through the existing outdoor sports provisions at our ever-evolving YMCA Village, before launching even more projects when we open our main community building in Spring 2022.”

YMCA gives new learners a ‘Big Welcome’ at Newark College

Penny Taylor, the Lead for Education and Training at Newark College, said: “It’s been wonderful to see our students and staff members having fun today. Through our Big Welcome activities, we’re helping our students feel comfortable, so they settle into college life quickly.

“They’re engaging with their tutors and classmates and building relationships that will enhance their learning experience and in turn their motivation.

YMCA gives new learners a ‘Big Welcome’ at Newark College

“The wellbeing and happiness of our students is a top priority and today learners have also been able to meet our friendly student services team, so they know who to contact if they need additional support with their learning, mental health, work experience, finance etc.

“We’re delighted to be able to give such a warm welcome to our new and returning students, especially after the challenges last year due to COVID-19. We look forward to building on this further over the next few weeks and as the academic year progresses.”